Abusive head trauma: Differentiation between impact and non-impact cases based on neuroimaging findings and skeletal surveys

T. Sieswerda-Hoogendoorn, S. G.F. Robben, W. A. Karst, F. M. Moesker, W. M. Van Aalderen, J. S. Laméris, R. R. Van Rijn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives To determine whether imaging findings can be used to differentiate between impact and non-impact head trauma in a group of fatal and non-fatal abusive head trauma (AHT) victims. Methods We included all AHT cases in the Netherlands in the period 2005-2012 for which a forensic report was written for a court of law, and for which imaging was available for reassessment. Neuroradiological and musculoskeletal findings were scored by an experienced paediatric radiologist. Results We identified 124 AHT cases; data for 104 cases (84%) were available for radiological reassessment. The AHT victims with a skull fracture had fewer hypoxic ischaemic injuries than AHT victims without a skull fracture (p = 0.03), but the relative difference was small (33% vs. 57%). There were no significant differences in neuroradiological and musculoskeletal findings between impact and non-impact head trauma cases if the distinction between impact and non-impact head trauma was based on visible head injuries, as determined by clinical examination, as well as on the presence of skull fractures. Conclusions Neuroradiological and skeletal findings cannot discriminate between impact and non-impact head trauma in abusive head trauma victims.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)584-588
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Radiology
Volume83
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Abusive head trauma
  • Child abuse
  • Forensic medicine
  • Haematoma, subdural
  • Head injury, closed

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