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Patterns of accidental craniocerebral injury occurring in early childhood
  1. A G Thomas1,
  2. S V Hegde2,
  3. R A Dineen3,4,
  4. T Jaspan4
  1. 1Radiology Department, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Infirmary Square, Leicester, UK
  2. 2Radiology Department, Arkansas Children's Hospital, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA
  3. 3Department of Radiological and Imaging Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
  4. 4Department of Neuroradiology, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Nottingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Adam G Thomas, Radiology Department, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Infirmary Square, Leicester LE1 5WW, UK; adam.thomas{at}


Objective To describe the range of intracranial injuries encountered in 0–2-year-olds in cases of accidental head injury where the mechanism of trauma was well characterised and to assess the clinical consequences.

Design A retrospective review of imaging and clinical data.

Setting Two tertiary paediatric referral centres.

Patients All children aged 0–2 undergoing cranial CT as indicated by National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidance for head injury from 2006 to 2011. After exclusion criteria, 149 patients were included.

Main outcome measures Rates of skull fracture, intracranial haemorrhage, parenchymal injuries and ischaemic change per type of mechanism of injury. Rates of neurological sequelae on follow-up.

Results Skull fractures were demonstrated in 54 (36%) patients of whom 17 (11%) had thin underlying subdural haemorrhage (SDH). Extradural haemorrhage complicated one fracture and two cases of isolated subdural haematomas were seen without skull fracture. Radiologically evident brain parenchymal injuries were present in three patients, all with mechanisms of injury involving high levels of force; severe neurological sequelae were only seen in one patient, who had diffuse hypoxic–ischaemic damage at presentation and whose (accidental) mechanism of injury involved extensive acceleration/deceleration/translational forces.

Conclusions Skull fractures and focal SDH are relatively common following minor trauma in this age group but in the vast majority of cases there are no long-term neurological sequelae. Conversely, diffuse brain injury with severe subsequent neurological impairment was only seen in patients with a correspondingly severe mechanism of injury.

  • Child Abuse
  • Accident & Emergency
  • Imaging

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