Aim: To determine the prevalence of retinal haemorrhages in infants admitted to hospital presenting with convulsions. To consider whether this finding indicates "shaken baby syndrome".
Patients and methods: Prospective study of children aged 15 days to 2 years admitted with a diagnosis of first convulsion over 2 years (May 2004 - May 2006). All infants were examined by an experienced ophthalmologist using indirect ophthalmoscopy within 72 hours of admission.
Results: 182 of 389 children seen in A+E were admitted and 2 were found to have retinal haemorrhages. Both children were eventually diagnosed of abuse.
Conclusions: Convulsions alone are unlikely to cause retinal haemorrhages in children under 2 years of age.
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