Intracranial injury after moderate head trauma in children

J Pediatr. 1989 Sep;115(3):346-50. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(89)80830-3.


We retrospectively evaluated the records of 459 children who had normal findings on a neurologic examination after moderate head injury characterized by brief loss of consciousness. Skull x-ray examination had been performed in 358 children, and 52 (14%) had fractures. Intracranial complications developed in six children (1.3%); five had extradural hematomas and one had bifrontal contusions. All six had skull fractures. Three children required surgical evacuation of hematomas between approximately 24 and 72 hours after injury. On the basis of these results, we conclude that in the absence of a skull fracture, most alert children without symptoms who have sustained moderate head injury may be safely discharged from the emergency department in the care of a competent observer.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Brain Injuries / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Injuries / etiology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / complications*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skull Fractures / diagnostic imaging
  • Skull Fractures / etiology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / complications*