The Stroke Foundation has welcomed and endorsed Australia’s first clinical guidelines for children with stroke, saying the guidelines were a vital step forward in recognising and treating some of the disease’s youngest sufferers.
The guidelines, developed by doctors from the Royal Children’s Hospital and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, have been released, aiming to improve diagnosis and acute management for patients.
Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan said there was a common misconception that stroke only occurs in older people.
“Stroke can impact anyone at any time, in Australia there are between 200 and 300 childhood strokes per year,’’ Ms McGowan said.
“Stroke attacks your brain, the human control centre, impacting both physical and mental abilities.
“It happens in an instant, changing the lives of the survivor and their loved ones forever. There is no time to prepare for the journey ahead.
“For a childhood stroke survivor and their families, the impact of stroke can literally last a lifetime,’’ she said.
The childhood clinical guidelines for stroke include more than 60 recommendations to assist emergency staff and paediatricians in diagnosing and managing children with stroke upon arrival to hospital.
They will aim to reduce the time taken for stroke diagnosis and ensure all children access the same high quality evidence-based care across the country.
Ms McGowan said the new clinical guidelines for childhood stroke built on the 2017 National Guidelines for Stroke Management released by the Stroke Foundation in September.
“Stroke is no longer a death sentence for many, with the right treatment at the right time many people are able to recover from stroke.
“We now know what best practice care looks like, the challenge now is ensuring all Australians have access to it.”
Ms McGowan said ensuring someone in every Australian household knows the signs of stroke was central to treating stroke.
“Stroke is a medical emergency and treatment is time-critical, we all must think F.A.S.T and act FAST at the first sign of stroke,” she said.
F.A.S.T stands for:
- Face – Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?
- Arms – Can they lift both arms?
- Speech – Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?
- Time – Time is critical. If you see any of these signs, call 000 straight away.
For more information, view The Diagnosis and Acute Management of Childhood Stroke: Clinical Guildelines 2017.