Stroke in the younger patient
A wide range of aetiologies need to be considered
Stroke is “a generic term for a clinical syndrome that includes infarction, haemorrhage and subarachnoid haemorrhage,”1 and presents with focal cerebral disturbances. Stroke is often associated with old age, but the Stroke Association estimates that 150 000 people have had a stroke in the United Kingdom, and a quarter of those people are under the age of 65 years.2 Twelve per cent of strokes affect people under 45 years of age.3 In this article we define young as under 65.
Atherosclerosis is the most common cause of stroke in older people, but in younger people a wide range of aetiologies need to be considered.4 Guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) do not lay out specific guidance for strokes in young people, even though more specialised care is likely to be needed for this demographic,4 because of implications in investigations, management, and quality of life.