PHILADELPHIA, May 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Children and teenagers suffer from strokes. Although usually a condition in older adults, stroke affects approximately 26 out of every 100,000 newborns and nearly six out of every 100,000 children each year. This week the U.S. Senate unanimously approved a resolution by Robert Casey (D-Pa.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) to designate May 5, 2007 National Childhood Stroke Awareness Day. The Senate resolution also commends The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for its initiative in creating the nation's first program dedicated to pediatric stroke patients. "The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is committed to raising awareness about the symptoms and appropriate treatment of pediatric stroke," said Steven M. Altschuler, M.D., president and chief executive officer of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "The Senate resolution to designate May 5, 2007 as National Childhood Stroke Awareness Day helps to underscore this important mission." A stroke is a sudden neurologic injury that occurs when the blood supply to a part of the brain is interrupted after an artery bursts or is blocked by a clot. It is a medical emergency that can cause permanent neurologic damage or even death if not promptly diagnosed and treated. "Although usually thought of as afflicting only elderly patients, strokes may occur as early as infancy," said pediatric neurologist Rebecca Ichord, M.D., who directs the Pediatric Stroke Program at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "Stroke needs to be considered by first-line pediatric caregivers who encounter a patient with suspicious neurological symptoms, such as difficulty walking or weakness of the limbs on one side of the body." Stroke is among the top 10 causes of death for children in the U.S.; 12 percent of all children who experience a stroke die as a result. Strokes in children may occur as complications of other illnesses, such as sickle cell disease, in which misshapen blood cells obstruct circulation. Another cause of stroke may be a whiplash injury to the neck, which damages an artery and leaves it a vulnerable site for blood clots. Many children who experience a stroke will suffer serious, long-term neurological disabilities, including paralysis of one side of the body, seizures, speech and vision problems, and learning difficulties. These disabilities may require ongoing physical therapy and surgeries. Permanent health concerns and treatments resulting from strokes that occur during childhood and young adulthood have a considerable economic, social and emotional impact on children, families, and society. The Senate resolution, and designation of National Childhood Stoke Awareness Day urge the people of the United States to support the efforts, programs, services, and advocacy of organizations that work to enhance public awareness of childhood stroke, including the Children's Hemiplegia and Stroke Association; the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association; and the National Stroke Association. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is joining forces with the Delaware Valley Stroke Council to promote awareness of pediatric stroke on May 8, 2007 as Stroke Alert Day, and throughout May, National Stroke Awareness Month. About The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation's first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children's Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country, ranking third in National Institutes of Health funding. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 430-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents. For more information, visit http://www.chop.edu.
SOURCE Children's Hospital of Philadelphia