Our objective was to characterize the etiologic factors and outcome for stroke in children. We retrospectively reviewed the charts of patients between the ages of 40 days and 94 months (36.5 +/- 23.7 months) with stroke seen at Istanbul Medical Faculty, Department of Pediatrics between January 1995 and December 2003. We found 79 cases of stroke: 57 ischemic and 22 hemorrhagic strokes. Seventeen children had vitamin K deficiency dependent hemorrhage. In 14 children stroke occurred as a complication of cardiac disease, 7 had moyamoya disease, 3 had protein C deficiency, 2 had thalassemia, 2 had hyperhomocysteinemia (methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase gene mutation), 2 were heterozygote for factor V Leiden, 3 had Down's syndrome, 1 was diagnosed with antiphospholipid syndrome, 1 had glycogen storage disease, and in 28 children no underlying cause could be found. Multiple risk factors were found in 4 children. The outcome in all 79 stroke patients was as follows: asymptomatic 60%; symptomatic epilepsy or persistent neurologic deficit 37%; death 3%; and recurrent stroke 5%. Thus, an underlying cause for stroke was identified in 65% of the children in the study group; 40% of the children either died or suffered motor and/or cognitive sequelae.