Retinal hemorrhages in an 8-year-old child: an uncommon presentation of abusive injury

Pediatr Emerg Care. 2004 Feb;20(2):118-20. doi: 10.1097/01.pec.0000113883.10140.c2.


Objective: Retinal hemorrhages in pediatric patients have been best described as a component of shaken baby syndrome (SBS), which has been described almost exclusively in the infant/toddler population. We describe the occurrence of retinal hemorrhages in the setting of abusive injury in an older child.

Methods: Case report.

Results: An 8-year-old boy was transferred to our institution with coma and respiratory arrest. Evaluation demonstrated intracranial hemorrhage, cerebral edema, and severe bilateral retinal hemorrhages. The patient subsequently died of intractable intracranial hypertension. Police investigation confirmed that the injuries were caused by severe abusive injury, including shaking.

Conclusions: This case emphasizes that the diagnosis of SBS is not limited to babies and that the possibility of abusive shaking injury should also be considered in older children presenting with intracranial pathology and retinal hemorrhages.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Brain Edema / etiology
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / diagnosis*
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Hemorrhage, Traumatic / etiology
  • Male
  • Retinal Hemorrhage / etiology*
  • Shaken Baby Syndrome / complications*
  • Shaken Baby Syndrome / diagnosis