Association between linear skull fractures and intracranial hemorrhage in children with minor head trauma

Pediatr Radiol. 2010 Aug;40(8):1375-9. doi: 10.1007/s00247-010-1555-4. Epub 2010 Mar 9.


Background: To determine whether skull fractures can be used to associate intracranial hemorrhage with minor head trauma (MHT).

Objective: We conducted a retrospective study evaluating the association between linear skull fractures and intracranial hemorrhage among children with MHT. Furthermore, we evaluated the significance of small intracranial hemorrhages by assessing the need for neurosurgical interventions.

Materials and methods: The case group included 114 children with a diagnosis of a linear skull fracture and the control group included 125 children without the diagnosis. We conducted multivariable logistic regression analyses to estimate the odds ratio (OR) between linear skull fractures and intracranial bleeding.

Results: Among the cases, 29 of 114 (25%) children were diagnosed with an intracranial hemorrhage on CT, compared to only 14 of 125 (11%) among the controls. The multivariable OR for intracranial hemorrhages comparing cases and controls adjusted for age and gender was 2.17 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.01, 4.68). All the intracranial hemorrhages were small (3.8 +/- 2.3 mm) and none of them required any neurosurgical intervention.

Conclusion: The presence of a linear skull fracture is an independent risk factor for intracranial hemorrhage. However, all the intracranial hemorrhages associated with the skull fractures were small and did not require any neurosurgical interventions.

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / complications*
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / diagnostic imaging
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intracranial Hemorrhages / diagnostic imaging
  • Intracranial Hemorrhages / etiology*
  • Male
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Skull Fractures / diagnostic imaging
  • Skull Fractures / etiology*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed