Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Multicenter Study
. 2017 Dec;102(12):1158-1160.
doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2017-313380. Epub 2017 Sep 22.

Retinal Haemorrhage in Infants With Pertussis

Multicenter Study

Retinal Haemorrhage in Infants With Pertussis

Naz Raoof et al. Arch Dis Child. .


Aims: It has been hypothesised that paroxysmal coughing in infantile pertussis (whooping cough) could produce retinal haemorrhages identical to those seen in abusive head trauma. We aimed to test this hypothesis.

Methods: This is a prospective study of infants hospitalised with pertussis in Auckland, New Zealand, from 2009 to 2014. The clinical severity of pertussis was categorised. All infants recruited had retinal examination through dilated pupils by the paediatric ophthalmology service using an indirect ophthalmoscope.

Results: Forty-eight infants with pertussis, aged 3 weeks to 7 months, were examined after a mean of 18 days of coughing. Thirty-nine had severe pertussis and nine had mild pertussis. All had paroxysmal cough, and all were still coughing at the time of examination. No retinal haemorrhages were seen.

Conclusions: We found no evidence to support the hypothesis that pertussis may cause the pattern of retinal haemorrhages seen in abusive head trauma in infants.

Keywords: abusive head trauma; child abuse; retinal haemorrhage; shaken baby syndrome; whooping cough.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interests: None declared.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 2 articles

Publication types

LinkOut - more resources