Striking a balance: Charlie ’s recovery from neonatal stroke

“Hey, Charlie,” says Dr. Michael Rivkin as he gently dangles a small rubber ducky in front of the little boy. “Would you like this?” A wide smile breaks out across the toddler’s face. Why yes, he certainly would like that duck. He reaches and grasps at it, closing his tiny fingers around the toy. For Charlie Strzempek, it’s nothing more than a playful act. But for his parents, Kathleen and Tom, it’s a major accomplishment. Dr. Rivkin isn’t simply offering his patient a toy. He’s testing his ability to grab and hold an object in his right hand — the side of his body affected by a neonatal stroke. A shining ray of light Although stroke is typically associated with older people, it’s quite common in babies: As many as 1 in 1,600 newborns experience a stroke, which is often discovered shortly after birth. For Charlie, the first sign that something might be wrong occurred during his delivery, as his heart rate began dropping. When he started having seizures in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) the following day, clinicians recommended a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. The anxiety the Strzempeks felt for their newborn son was only compounded by the results: The MRI revealed that he’d had a stroke. “We were so sad and angry,” remembers Kathleen. “We didn’t understand why this had happened to him.” It was in the NICU that they first met Dr. Rivkin, co-director of the St...
Source: Thrive, Children's Hospital Boston - Category: Pediatrics Authors: Tags: Diseases & Conditions Our Patients’ Stories Dr. Michael Rivkin Julie Croteau occupational therapy stroke Stroke and Cerebrovascular Center Source Type: news

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