Intracranial hemorrhage and rebleeding in suspected victims of abusive head trauma: addressing the forensic controversies

Child Maltreat. 2002 Nov;7(4):329-48. doi: 10.1177/107755902237263.


Does an expanded subarachnoid space predispose to subdural bleeding? What does heterogeneity in the appearance of a subdural collection on CT or MRI imaging indicate? Spontaneous rebleeding? Minor re-injury? Major re-injury? In some specific cases, answers to these questions have important forensic implications. To conclude objectively that an infant's intracranial hemorrhage or rebleeding resulted from inflicted injury or re-injury requires an in-depth understanding of the pathogenesis of posttraumatic subdural and subarachnoid collections. The authors present two cases of indoor, accidental, pediatric, closed-head trauma that resulted in intracranial rebleeding. Both accidental cranial impacts occurred in medical settings and were independently witnessed by medical personnel. In addition, the authors summarize the relevant medical literature regarding pediatric intracranial bleeding and rebleeding.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Crime Victims
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Hematoma, Subdural / diagnosis
  • Hematoma, Subdural / etiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intracranial Hemorrhage, Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Intracranial Hemorrhage, Traumatic / diagnostic imaging
  • Intracranial Hemorrhage, Traumatic / physiopathology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Recurrence
  • Subarachnoid Space
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed