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Neurovascular disorders program
The neurovascular disorders program at Children’s Wisconsin offers comprehensive, family-centered care for a variety of neurovascular disorders. Our multidisciplinary team includes dedicated pediatric neuroradiologists, pediatric neurosurgeons with vascular expertise, pediatric endovascular surgeons, pediatric neuropsychologists, and pediatric neurologists with expertise in treating strokes in children. As part of our nationally recognized Neurosciences Center, our program’s specialists offer cutting-edge diagnosis and treatment options to patients from across Wisconsin and beyond.
Our resources include the state’s only Level 1 Children’s Surgery Center; a hybrid suite in the radiology department that can be used for both endovascular procedures as well as open craniotomies, allowing us to deliver flexible and efficient patient care; and a highly trained neuro intensive care team. Our neurosciences patient care unit is equipped with state-of-the-art neuromonitoring capabilities, a rehabilitation gym and other services designed to help our inpatients recover as quickly as possible.
What are neurovascular disorders?
Our body depends on the flow of oxygenated blood to the brain and spinal cord for normal function. Neurovascular disorders involve abnormalities of the blood vessels in the brain or spine that can cause bleeding or restrict blood flow, leading to strokes and other serious complications.
Neurovascular conditions can develop at any age, but these disorders can affect children differently from adults. Some children may be born with these conditions — such as blood vessel malformations that develop during pregnancy — while other kids may develop blood vessel narrowing or blockages later in life.
These disorders can cause significant neurological damage to a child because of the risk of hemorrhage (bleeding) or ischemic stroke (inadequate blood supply to the brain). The team at Children’s has experience treating even the most complex neurovascular cases.
Neurovascular disorders we treat
Our specialists treat the full range of neurovascular disorders, including:
- Moyamoya syndrome
- Cerebral aneurysms
- Arteriovenous malformations (AVM)
- Vein of Galen malformations (VOGM)
- Arteriovenous fistulas (AVF)
- Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCM)
- Developmental venous anomalies (DVA)
- Stroke/transient ischemic attack (TIA)
Warning signs of neurovascular disorders
- Sudden, severe headache
- Vision changes
- Weakness, numbness or paralysis on one side of the body
- Slurred speech/difficulty speaking
- Difficulty understanding others
- Neck stiffness
- Bleeding in the brain
If untreated, neurovascular conditions can be life-threatening. Seek emergency care if you believe your child is experiencing a stroke.
Diagnosis and treatment
After we evaluate your child’s medical history and conduct a thorough examination, we’ll recommend tests and treatments based on your child’s individual needs.
Children’s has been named a Diagnostic Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology. Testing for neurovascular conditions could include:
- Neurovascular imaging
- Genetic testing and consultations
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Neuropsychologic testing
The experts at Children’s are actively engaged in research and clinical trials to bring the most advanced and effective treatment options to our patients. Treatments we offer include:
- Minimally invasive endovascular interventions to treat aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations
- Aneurysm clipping to prevent bleeding
- Open neurovascular surgery, including pial synangiosis for moyamoya syndrome
- Resection of arteriovenous malformations (AVM) and cerebral cavernous malformations (CCM)
- Gamma knife radiation for AVM
We believe in a multidisplinary team approach. Our neurologists and neurosurgeons partner with many other pediatric specialists, including neuroradiologists, neuropsychologists, genetic counselors, physiatrists (rehab physicians), physical and occupational therapists, speech pathologists, social workers, child life specialists and other experts. We’ll work together to meet your family’s needs and ensure your child receives the best, most comprehensive care.
It's important to know what your options are. We can provide expert opinions to verify or give more information about an initial diagnosis. Contact us today.