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Convulsions and retinal haemorrhage: should we look further?
  1. M Mei-Zahav1,
  2. Y Uziel1,
  3. J Raz2,
  4. N Ginot1,
  5. B Wolach1,
  6. P Fainmesser1
  1. 1Division of Paediatric Emergency Medicine, Department of Paediatrics, Sapir Medical Center, Kfar Saba, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Israel
  2. 2Division of Paediatric Ophthalmology, Department of Ophthalmology, Sapir Medical Center
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr M Mei-Zahav, Department of Paediatrics, The Hospital for Sick Children, 555 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 1X8;


Background and Aims: The prevalence of retinal haemorrhages after convulsions is not well established. As these haemorrhages are considered characteristic of child abuse, we investigated their occurrence after convulsive episodes to see whether the finding of haemorrhage should prompt further investigation.

Methods: Prospective study of 153 children (aged 2 months to 2 years), seen in the emergency department after a convulsive episode. After a thorough history and physical examination, a retinal examination was performed by an ophthalmologist. If findings were positive, further investigation was undertaken to rule out systemic disorder or child abuse.

Results: One child was found with unilateral retinal haemorrhages following an episode of a simple febrile convulsion. A thorough investigation uncovered no other reason for this finding.

Conclusion: Retinal haemorrhages following a convulsive episode are rare. Such a finding should trigger an extensive search for other reasons, including child abuse.

  • retinal haemorrhage
  • convulsion
  • child abuse
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