Cerebrovascular Anomalies in Children: Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms of Cerebrovascular Anomalies

In some cases, a large facial hemangioma may indicate an underlying cerebrovascular anomaly, however, most pediatric cerebrovascular anomalies are not visible without the use of neuroimaging expertise. In other instances, a condition may not be evident until a medical emergency, such as a stroke, occurs. That’s why it’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms and get help for your child as quickly as possible.

Some strokes can be “silent,” or cause no symptoms. Stroke symptoms depend on what part of the brain is affected. Below are signs and symptoms of stroke in children:

  • Difficulty talking
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Onset of lethargy or difficulty walking
  • Seizure
  • Stiff neck or neck pain
  • Sudden collapse
  • Sudden loss of consciousness
  • Sudden loss of movement or weakness of face, arm, or leg
  • Sudden severe headache
  • Vomiting

Diagnosing Cerebrovascular Anomalies

If a cerebrovascular anomaly is suspected in your child, he or she will receive a variety tests to find the exact spot of the malformed blood vessels. These tests are incredibly vital for children because, unlike adults, they often have limited communication skills and may be unable to describe their symptoms in detail. If a diagnosis is confirmed, neurosurgery may be an option — or sometimes a necessity — depending on the severity of the condition.

The pediatric neuroimaging experts at Children’s Hospital’s Brain Care Institute are among the most experienced in the country. Neuroradiologists and neurologists offer the latest neurological testing technology for fast and precise results, including:

  • CT or CAT scan (computed tomography scans)
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Electromyogram (EMG) and nerve conduction velocity
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
  • Magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA) scan
  • Cerebral spinal fluid analysis (spinal tap or lumbar puncture)
  • Evoked potentials
  • Myelogram
  • Ultrasound (Sonogram)
  • Magnetoencephalogram (MEG)
    * MEG testing is offered at UPMC Presbyterian