Head trauma due to child abuse: serial computerized tomography in diagnosis and management

South Med J. 1987 Dec;80(12):1505-12. doi: 10.1097/00007611-198712000-00006.


We studied both the clinical features and CT findings in 24 children who had acute head trauma as a result of child abuse. Twenty-three of them were less than 1 year of age. The diagnosis of whiplash shaken infant syndrome was made in 17. Serial CT, done in 50% of the cases, was useful in managing the medical, legal, and social aspects of the cases and in predicting the neurologic outcome. Three children died and 12 others suffered serious neurologic sequelae. The other five children has lesser degrees of deficit; one was lost to follow-up. Three were neurologically normal on follow-up visits. Two siblings of these children died of child abuse, indicating the necessity for continuing intervention in the abused child's family to prevent further abuse.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Child Abuse*
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Retinal Hemorrhage / diagnostic imaging
  • Retinal Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*
  • Whiplash Injuries / diagnostic imaging*
  • Whiplash Injuries / etiology