Background: To our knowledge, the contribution of prothrombotic conditions to cerebral thromboembolism has never been prospectively studied in a large series of pediatric patients.
Methods: The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, established a program in January 1992 to diagnose and treat children (term newborn to 18 years old) with arterial ischemic stroke or sinovenous thrombosis. The routine evaluation for prothrombotic conditions included plasminogen, antithrombin, protein C, free protein S, activated protein C resistance, IgG and IgM anticardiolipin antibody, and lupus anticoagulant. We analyzed samples taken within 2 years of the event. We report results on patients seen from January 1, 1992, to January 1, 1997.
Results: Ninety-two patients (47 males and 45 females) entered the program during the study interval. Patients ranged from newborn to 18 years in age. Arterial ischemic stroke occurred in 78% of patients while sinovenous thrombosis occurred in 22%. All were tested for prothrombotic disorders. One or more abnormal results were present in 35 (38%) of the 92 patients. The majority (21/35) had multiple abnormal test results. The abnormal test results were anticardiolipin antibody (33%), plasminogen (9.5%), activated protein C resistance (9%), protein C (7%), antithrombin (12.5%), lupus anticoagulant (8%), and free protein S (11.5%). Male sex predicted the presence of prothrombotic abnormalities (relative risk, 1.7; 95% confidence interval, 1.2-2.5), but stroke type (relative risk, 0.8; 95% confidence interval, 0.7-1.1), age group, and presence of other risk factors did not predict abnormal testing.
Conclusions: A significant proportion (38%) of children with cerebral thromboembolism had evidence of prothrombotic conditions. In particular, there was a predominance of children with anticardiolipin antibody (33%). These data support a recommendation that children with cerebral thromboembolism be evaluated for prothrombotic disorders.