Neonatal Stroke

What is Neonatal Stroke?

A neonatal stroke is a stroke that a newborn has. The time frame for a neonatal stroke is from birth to 28 days. Around 1 in 2500 newborns who are not premature have neonatal strokes. Premature babies are more likely to suffer from a neonatal stroke. Neonatal Strokes are known for causing cognitive issues but they can managed if treated in time.

The Common Symptoms of Neonatal Stroke

There are several symptoms of a neonatal stroke and some of the common ones are:

  • Seizures:
  • Hypotonia or extreme sleepiness and lethargy
  • Hemiparesis: Hemiparesis is the medical term for weakness on one side of the body.
  • Feeding difficulties or the baby has difficulties sucking
  • Apnea: Apnea is the term for when the breathing of a person stops momentarily.
  • Neurological Impairment

What causes Neonatal Stroke?

Different types of neonatal strokes have different causes such as:

  • Having cardiac disorders can increase the chances of having a neonatal stroke
  • Having genetic conditions that increase the chances of blood clotting can lead to a neonatal stroke. Obstruction of blood flow to the spine or the brain as a result of blood clotting is what leads to the stroke. This kind of stroke is the most common and is known as atrial ischemic stroke.
  • Clotting disorders and congenital heart disorders can lead to bleeding in the brain and thus cause a stroke. This is known as a hemorrhagic stroke.
  • Blood vessel abnormalities can also cause bleeding in the brain.

When should I see a doctor?

If your baby is having difficulties feeding, and or or breathing or if they are having a seizure, you should take them to the doctor. If one side of your baby's body feels weak, you should take them to a paediatrician or a general physician. If your baby shows signs of extreme sleepiness, you should take them to a doctor.


Nenotala strokes cannot be treated at home and you should take your baby to a doctor at the earliest. A doctor will administer treatment based on the cognitive function the stroke impairs. There are two ways to treat a neonatal stroke- therapeutic hypothermia and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. However, since therapeutic hypothermia and hyperbaric oxygen therapy are both relatively new, some doctors may shy away from them. They instead use older methods such as urokinase and heparin. Urokinase when administered via injection, can help treat bleeding. An anticoagulant, heparin, helps reduce blood clotting and prevents the formation of harmful ones in blood vessels.

Request an appointment at Apollo Cradle, Bengaluru - Koramangala. Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.

1. How is a neonatal stroke diagnosed?

Neuroimaging is used to diagnose a neonatal stroke.

2. Can neonatal strokes be prevented?

A healthy pregnancy and taking precautions, especially if your family has a history of blood clotting disorders, can reduce the risk of neonatal strokes.

3. My baby has trouble sucking- and is having seizures- could it be a neonatal stroke?

Having trouble feeding, seizures, apnea, excessive sleepiness, and weakness in one side of the body are some of the symptoms of neonatal strokes.

4. Can a newborn get a neonatal stroke?

Newborn babies can get a neonatal stroke. If an infant suffers from a stroke, and they are 28 days old or younger, it is a neonatal stroke.

5. Do neonatal strokes affect the brain?

Neonatal strokes are known to cause cognitive issues, but they can be managed if medicines are administered in time.

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