Abusive head trauma.

Department of Pediatrics, Kempe Child Protection Team, The Children's Hospital, 13123 E. 16th Avenue, Box 138, Denver, CO 80045, USA.
Pediatric Clinics of North America (Impact Factor: 2.2). 05/2009; 56(2):317-31. DOI: 10.1016/j.pcl.2009.02.001
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Child physical abuse that results in injury to the head or brain has been described using many terms, including battered child syndrome, whiplash injuries, shaken infant or shaken impact syndrome, and nonmechanistic terms such as abusive head trauma or nonaccidental trauma. These injuries sustained by child abuse victims are discussed in detail in this article, including information about diagnosis, management and outcomes. The use of forensics, the use imaging studies, and associated injuries are also detailed.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Our aim was to define the radiographic findings that help differentiate abusive head trauma (AHT) from accidental head injury. Our trauma registry was queried for all children a parts per thousand currency sign5 years of age presenting with traumatic brain injury (TBI) from 1996-2011. Of 2,015 children with TBI, 71 % had accidental injury and 29 % had AHT. Children with AHT were more severely injured (ISS 22.1 vs 14.4; p < 0.0001) and had a higher mortality rate (15 vs 5 %; p < 0.0001). Patients with AHT had higher rates of diffuse axonal injury (14 vs 8 %; p < 0.0001) and subdural hemorrhage (76 vs 23 %; p < 0.0001). Children with accidental injury had higher rates of skull fractures (52 vs 21 %; p < 0.0001) and epidural hemorrhages (11 vs 3 %). AHT occurred in 29 % of children and resulted in increased mortality rates. These children had higher rates of subdural hemorrhages and diffuse axonal injury. Physicians initially evaluating injured children must maintain a high index of suspicion for abuse in those who present with subdural hematoma or diffuse axonal injury.
    Pediatric Surgery International 09/2014; 30(11). DOI:10.1007/s00383-014-3598-3 · 1.06 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Abusive head trauma has a robust and interesting scientific history. Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics has endorsed a change in terminology to a term that is more general in describing the vast array of abusive mechanisms that can result in pediatric head injury. Simply defined, abusive head trauma is "child physical abuse that results in injury to the head or brain." Abusive head trauma is a relatively common cause of childhood neurotrauma, with an estimated incidence of 16 to 33 cases per 100 000 children per year in the first 2 years of life. Clinical findings are variable; AHT should be considered in all children with neurologic signs and symptoms, especially if no or only mild trauma is described. Subdural and retinal hemorrhages are the most common findings. The current best evidence-based literature has identified some features-apnea and severe retinal hemorrhages-that reliably discriminate abusive from accidental injury. Longitudinal studies of outcomes in abusive head trauma patients demonstrate that approximately one-third of the children are severely disabled, one third of them are moderately disabled, and one third have no or only mild symptoms. Abusive head trauma cases are complex cases that require a rigorous, multidisciplinary team approach. The clinician can establish this diagnosis with confidence if he/she maintains a high index of suspicion for the diagnosis, has knowledge of the signs, symptoms, and risk factors of abusive head trauma, and reasonably excludes other etiologies on the differential diagnosis.
    Journal of Child Neurology 10/2014; 29(12). DOI:10.1177/0883073814549995 · 1.67 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Infants with abusive head trauma (AHT) have diffuse brain damage with potentially fatal brain swelling. The pathogenesis of the brain damage remains unclear. We hypothesize that brain damage in AHT is due to hypoxic-ischemic injury with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) rather than primary traumatic brain injury (TBI) with traumatic diffuse axonal injury (tDAI). We studied brain tissue of AHT victims. Primary outcome measure was the presence of primary traumatic versus hypoxic-ischemic brain injury. The diagnosis of tDAI followed a standardized semiquantitative diagnostic approach yielding a 4-tiered grading scheme (definite, possible, improbable, and none). In addition, results of quantitative immunohistochemical analysis in a subgroup of AHT victims with instant death were compared with matched SIDS controls. In our cohort of 50 AHT victims, none had definite tDAI (no tDAI in 30, tDAI possible in 2, and tDAI improbable in 18). Instead, all AHT victims showed morphological findings indicative of HIE. Furthermore, the subgroup with instant death showed significantly higher counts of damaged axons with accumulation of amyloid precursor protein (APP) in the brainstem adjacent to the central pattern generator of respiratory activity (CPG) (odds ratio adjusted for age, sex, brain weight, and APP-count in other regions = 3.1; 95 % confidence interval = 1.2 to 7.7; p = 0.015). AHT victims in our cohort do not have diffuse TBI or tDAI. Instead, our findings indicate that the encephalopathy in AHT is the due to hypoxic-ischemic injury probably as the result of respiratory arrest due to local damage to parts of the CPG in the brainstem.
    Deutsche Zeitschrift für die Gesamte Gerichtliche Medizin 08/2014; 129(1). DOI:10.1007/s00414-014-1060-7 · 2.60 Impact Factor


Available from