Background: We present the signs, symptoms, and radiographic features of 36 children with ischemic infarctions of the basal ganglia, internal capsule, or thalamus.
Patients and methods: The series includes 14 males and 22 females ranging in age from newborn to 13 years. Twenty-seven patients were evaluated with computed tomography, 34 with magnetic resonance imaging, 16 with magnetic resonance angiography, and 10 with conventional cerebral angiography. Thirty patients had unilateral lesions (16 left, 14 right) and 6 had bilateral infarctions.
Results: The most common presenting symptom was hemiplegia (30 of 36). Other children presented with aphasia (5 of 36), seizures (5 of 36), altered consciousness (5 of 36), and hemisensory changes (5 of 36). Four of 6 patients with bilateral lesions presented with altered mental status, but the location of a unilateral infarction within the thalamus or basal ganglia did not predict the clinical presentation.
Conclusions: The risk factors for basal ganglia infarction in children are diverse, but systemic hypertension does not play a major role in children. The vascular occlusion often occurred in the large arteries, with secondary occlusion of the smaller penetrating arteries. Most children with a single unilateral infarction have a good prognosis.