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Objective: To compare risk factors, clinical presentation, and outcomes after posterior circulation arterial ischemic stroke (PCAIS) and anterior circulation arterial ischemic stroke (ACAIS) in neonates and children.

Methods: In this international multicenter observational study including neonates and children up to 18 years of age with arterial ischemic stroke (AIS), we compared clinical and radiologic features according to stroke location.

Results: Of 2,768 AIS cases, 507 (18%) were located in the posterior circulation, 1,931 (70%) in the anterior circulation, and 330 (12%) involved both. PCAIS was less frequent in neonates compared to children (8.8% vs 22%, p < 0.001). Children with PCAIS were older than children with ACAIS (median age 7.8 [interquartile range (IQR) 3.1-14] vs 5.1 [IQR 1.5-12] years, p < 0.001), and more often presented with headache (54% vs 32%, p < 0.001) and a lower Pediatric NIH Stroke Scale score (4 [IQR 2-8] vs 8 [IQR 3-13], p = 0.001). Cervicocephalic artery dissections (CCAD) were more frequent (20% vs 8.5%, p < 0.001), while cardioembolic strokes were less frequent (19% vs 32%, p < 0.001) in PCAIS. Case fatality rates were equal in both groups (2.9%). PCAIS survivors had a better outcome (normal neurologic examination at hospital discharge in 29% vs 21%, p = 0.002) than ACAIS survivors, although this trend was only observed in children and not in neonates.

Conclusion: PCAIS is less common than ACAIS in both neonates and children. Children with PCAIS are older and have a higher rate of CCAD, lower clinical stroke severity, and better outcome than children with ACAIS.

(C) 2020 American Academy of Neurology