Background: This study utilized an existing national database of cases of non-accidental head injury (NAHI; also called inflicted traumatic brain injury [inflicted TBI] and shaken baby syndrome [SBS]) in Scotland to report the incidence, confidence intervals, and demography of such cases in Southeast Scotland.
Methods: This prospective population-based study was conducted from January 1998 to September 2006. Data from the Lothian region of Scotland, where there is known full ascertainment of infant head injuries, including NAHI, have been used to calculate the incidence rate for this region of Scotland, with government statistics providing the normal annual infant population as the denominator. A new Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD), which assesses a very focused area (data zone population size=750) and provides novel information about social demography for education, housing, employment, health, crime, income, and geographic accessibility to services, was applied to the identified cases of NAHI during this study period.
Results: The mean incidence of NAHI in southeast Scotland for 8.75 years was 33.8/100,000 infants per year. The cases of NAHI were mostly located in the lowest 1 (or 2) quintiles for all SIMD domains (education, housing, employment, health, crime, income), although they had good accessibility to medical and other community services.
Conclusions: The incidence rates from this prospective study for NAHI are considerably higher than other published UK surveys and are not considered to reflect a cluster effect. The perpetrators in this study fit a strongly skewed profile aggregating to the lowest socioeconomic groups in the community.