Paediatric Neurovascular Program
The Paediatric Neurovascular Program comprises a team of specialists dedicated to providing care to children with neurovascular diseases.
Neurovascular diseases in children such as brain arteriovenous malformations (AVM), aneurysms, cavernous malformations and vein of Galen malformations (VOGM) are complex conditions which pose a challenge to diagnose and manage. With this diagnosis often comes a high level of stress and anxiety for patients, families and health-care providers. The SickKids Neurovascular Program leverages multidisciplinary collaboration, decades of clinical experience and innovative research to offer cutting-edge techniques of diagnosis and treatment to children affected by these conditions.
The Paediatric Neurovascular Program at SickKids strives to provide comprehensive and individualized care to infants, children and adolescents with diseases of the blood vessels in the brain and spine through education, collaboration, innovation, and mentorship.
As a multi-disciplinary team of world-renowned neurovascular experts, we drive novel research and education that will improve the understanding of paediatric neurovascular disease. We partner with expertise locally and globally to spearhead safer and more effective diagnostic and therapeutic paradigms that will serve as the cutting edge of the discipline.
Our team consists of health-care professionals including Interventional Neuroradiologists, Neurosurgeons, Nurse practitioners, Neurovascular Technologists as well as program and research managers. Together we evaluate each patient’s unique neurovascular condition to develop individualized recommendations for treatment.
It is important that paediatric patients with a neurovascular condition of the brain or spine be referred to a specialized center experienced in the care of children with these conditions. This includes prenatal consultations for fetuses with neurovascular conditions. At SickKids, we run a multidisciplinary specialty Neurovascular clinic for children with neurovascular conditions of the brain and spine. Team members from the Paediatric Neurovascular Program are involved in the clinic and can provide the latest surgical, endovascular and gamma knife treatments options.
Some conditions that are commonly seen include:
- Brain and Spine arteriovenous malformation (AVMs): A tangle of blood vessels with high flow caused by abnormal connections of arteries and veins.
- Brain aneurysm: A bulge in a blood vessel in the brain caused by a weak spot.
- Cavernous malformations: A local cluster of abnormally dilated blood vessels.
- Vein of Galen malformations: An abnormal connection of arteries to veins deep in the brain that develops during pregnancy.
To refer a patient, please visit the Refer a Patient page.
If you are a patient or family wanted to be referred to our team for a second opinion, please have your health-care provider send us a referral.
The Neurovascular Program aims to drive novel research and education that will improve the understanding of paediatric neurovascular disease to spearhead safer and more effective diagnostic and therapeutic paradigms that will serve as the cutting edge of the discipline.
Together we want to continue to understand children and their families experiences with a neurovascular diagnosis and find ways to improve care. We routinely work with patients, parents and healthcare providers to advance our research goals. If you are interested in getting involved as a research participant or collaborator, see contact below.
Our goal is to develop the critical infrastructure to generate the next phase of research into paediatric neurovascular lesion, such as whole genome sequencing and coordinated banking of tissues or cells for DNA, RNA, single cell genomics, primary cell culture and tissue organoids. This resource will open doors for genetically targeted medical therapies that are yet in nascency.
We aim to develop advanced non-invasive imaging techniques for paediatric arteriovenous malformations that will increase the understanding of the structure and flow characteristics, including flow quantification using 4D-flow and ASL perfusion, white matter integrity using diffusion tensor imaging and functional imaging using blood oxygen level dependent fMRI and cerebrovascular reactivity. This in the future potentially will spare children and babies from more invasive tests like cerebral angiography.
It is our goal to collaborate with other paediatric and adult neurovascular sites across Canada, North America and globally for multi-centre research and registry generation.
Three innovative SickKids projects awarded funding to support brain and mental health programs
From expanding a deep brain stimulation program, to increasing global neurovascular research collaborations and developing a parenting program for children’s mental health, recipients of a new research fund have been recognized for innovative programs supporting brain and mental health.