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Cerebrovascular & Stroke Program

Neurovascular disease is so rare in children that most pediatric neurologists aren't trained to diagnose or treat it. Nevertheless, each year about 4,000 children in the U.S. experience strokes or other complex disorders affecting blood supply to the brain and spinal cord.

The Pediatric Cerebrovascular and Stroke Program is one of the few centers in the country to offer highly specialized comprehensive care to children with even the most challenging neurovascular conditions. We are experienced in treating ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes, moyamoya, arteriovenous malformations in the brain, brain aneurysms, cavernous malformations, hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HTT), and other disorders involving nerves and blood vessels.

Also one of the few centers with neurologists who are board certified in both pediatric and vascular neurology, we are experts in providing care in the critical hours after a stroke occurs. We partner with our colleagues in pediatric neurosurgery, hematology, and diagnostic and neurointerventional radiology to provide advanced diagnostic imaging and treatments not available at most children's hospitals, such as highly targeted radiation techniques using the Gamma Knife or CyberKnife. This combination of expertise and technology has allowed us to help patients who are considered inoperable by other institutions.

What's more, our physician-scientists lead national studies to improve the prevention and treatment of pediatric stroke, giving our patients opportunities to join clinical trials, some of which are only available at UCSF.

The patient and research advocacy group Alliance to Cure Cavernous Malformation has designated our program a center of excellence in recognition of the high-quality care our diverse team of specialists provides for cavernous malformations.

Our locations (1)

    Fast, convenient care

    Immediate access

    Our team of specialists is available to evaluate patients showing possible stroke symptoms five to 10 minutes after they arrive.

    Collaborative care

    We're experienced in partnering with primary care doctors both near and far to ensure each patient's healing journey is uninterrupted.

    Transfer support

    To coordinate swift, seamless transfers to UCSF, our Pediatric Access Center is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    Remote follow-up

    Patients who live outside the San Francisco Bay Area can receive postsurgical care at home through our comprehensive telehealth system.

    Awards & recognition

    • Ranked among the nation's best in 10 specialties

    • One of the nation's best in neurology & neurosurgery

    • Founded in 2003

    • 24/7 access to pediatric stroke specialists

    • Designated a center of excellence by the Alliance to Cure Cavernous Malformation

    Partner clinic

    Pediatric Brain Center

    Neurointerventional Radiology Clinic

    Plan your visit

    Preparing for your appointment

    What to Bring

    • Photo I.D.
    • Health insurance card
    • Insurance authorization, if required
    • Doctor's referral, if required
    • Recent test results related to your child's condition
    • List of medications, including dosages, plus any your child is allergic to
    • List of questions you may have
    • Device or paper for taking notes

    For visitors

    Before you head to the hospital, check out our guidelines for visitors and caregivers.


    Your Stay

    We offer valuable information to help you plan for your child's upcoming hospital stay. Find out about food services, family accommodations and more.

    Learn more

    Your Child's Care Team

    Our doctors, nurses, child life specialists and other providers have special training to care for children. Meet your child's care team.

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    Interpreter Services & Communication Assistance

    Interpreter services in many languages and TDDs are available for families that need help communicating with care teams. Here's how to access them.

    Learn more

    Patient stories

    Surgery provides a "durable cure" for child's brain bleed

    Bobby Stallworth couldn't talk or move his right arm and leg after an arteriovenous malformation (an abnormal tangle of blood vessels) ruptured in his brain. His family turned to UCSF for state-of-the-art surgical care.

    Florida boy travels 3,000 miles for lifesaving AVM surgery

    When malformed blood vessels ruptured in a delicate part of Gio Perry's brainstem, local doctors wouldn't operate. Our neurosurgeons did.

    Support services

    Child Life Services

    Activity rooms, pet therapy and more to help kids feel at home.

    Child Life

    Certified child life specialists ease the stress and anxiety of childhood illness through therapeutic play, schooling and family-focused support.

    Family Amenities

    Family-friendly amenities help you relax and take care of yourself while staying close to your child. We offer lounges, kitchens, showers, breastfeeding rooms and more.


    Social Services

    Social workers ease the effect of illness, injury and hospitalization on your family with counseling and assistance to help you navigate the challenges.


    Activity Rooms

    Activity rooms offer a relaxed environment for children of all ages. Features include a playroom, digital arts studio and teen lounge. Find out more.


    Art Therapy

    Art therapy helps kids and families express themselves, making it easier to cope with pediatric health issues. Group and bedside services are available.


    Music Therapy Program

    Board-certified music therapists help kids cope with illness and the feelings that come with it. Find out about group activities and bedside therapy.


    School Program

    Our schoolroom services and individual learning programs help children hospitalized at UCSF continue their education and get ready to return to school.


    School Re-Entry Program

    We help kids return to school after hospitalization by educating staff and students about their needs and recommending needed accommodations. Read more.


    Individual Playtime & Instruction

    If your child can't be around other kids for medical reasons, you can sign up for private sessions in our activity and school rooms. Find out how.


    Interpreter Services & Communication Assistance

    Interpreter services in many languages and TDDs are available for families that need help communicating with care teams. Here's how to access them.

    Family Resource Center

    We help families cope with the challenges of childhood illness and hospitalization in a relaxing environment where parents can get a much-needed break.


    Parent Support Program

    Weekly activities, including knitting, scrapbooking, chair massage and more, help family caregivers get a much-needed break. Find out more.


    Patient Relations

    Patient relations reps and nursing supervisors are here to answer questions and address concerns. Learn about your rights, how to reach us and more.


    Spiritual Care

    Chaplains help UCSF patients, families and staff cope with the spiritual and emotional challenges of childhood illness. Learn more.


    International Services

    If you're coming to UCSF from outside the U.S., we coordinate your child's appointments and provide other helpful services. Here's how to get started.

    Our research initiatives

    Staff superheroes

    It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s a window washer! Dressed as a superhero to clean and brighten your day.