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Schöberl, Florian; Ringleb, Peter Arthur; Wakili, Reza; Poli, Sven; Wollenweber, Frank Arne; Kellert, Lars (2017): Juvenile Stroke. A Practice-Oriented Overview. In: Deutsches Ärzteblatt international, Vol. 114, No. 31-32: pp. 527-534
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Background: So-called juvenile stroke, i.e., stroke in a person aged 18 to 55, affects approximately 30 000 persons per year in Germany and is thus an important cause of mortality and permanent morbidity. The spectrum of causes of stroke is broader in this age group than in older patients and is also differently distributed. Methods: This review is based on pertinent publications retrieved by a selective search in PubMed and on current guideline recommendations. Results: Juvenile strokes are often caused by cardiogenic emboli (ca. 25%) and by vascular dissection (ca. 20%). Approximately 10% are due to rare causes such as vasculitis or thrombophilia, 25-50% remain cryptogenic, and 20-30% meet the criteria for an embolic stroke of undetermined source (ESUS). A rational diagnostic algorithm should be applied that is based on the relative frequencies of the potential causes. The acute treatment of ischemic stroke is the same for patients of all ages: the patient must be transferred as soon as possible to a hospital where a vascular recanalization procedure can be performed. From age 40 onward, there is a steep rise in vascular risk factors and therefore also in the resulting macro- and microangiopathy, which lead, in turn, to stroke. Only 40% of patients with juvenile stroke are ever able to return to their original occupation, and approximately one-third remain permanently unable to work. Conclusion: The high rates of cryptogenic stroke and ESUS among patients with juvenile stroke indicate that uncertainties remain in the diagnosis and treatment of this entity. The identification of rare causes of juvenile stroke requires a major diagnostic effort. Which diagnostic tests are useful or necessary in which patients is a matter that is currently decided on an individual basis. This is true, above all, of the indication for long-term cardiac monitoring.