Child in hospital bedChildren living in a part of the Southeastern United States, known as the stroke belt, are no more likely to be hospitalized for stroke than children in non-stroke-belt states, researchers reported at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2015.

Adults in the stroke belt are more likely to be hospitalized for stroke and die from it than adults in other parts of the country. Prior research has also found children in stroke belt states have a higher rate of death from stroke than children elsewhere.

In the current study, researchers looked at whether children in these states are hospitalized more for ischemic stroke by analyzing national stroke hospital discharges for people 20 years or younger compared to adults between 2006 and 2009.

They found:

  • While hospitalization rates were 32 percent to 52 percent higher for adults in the stroke belt, hospitalization rates for children with stroke were similar, at 1.2 per thousand in stroke belt states and 1.4 per thousand in non-stroke belt states.
  • There was no difference in in-hospital mortality rates by region.

Because there was no difference in stroke hospitalizations or early mortality in children residing in the stroke belt, the results suggest that factors which manifest later in life are responsible for the increased risk of stroke related death among adults in the stroke belt.