Longitudinal imaging history in early identification of intimate partner violence

Eur Radiol. 2021 Nov 19. doi: 10.1007/s00330-021-08362-2. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Objectives: To describe the imaging findings of intimate partner violence (IPV)-related injury and to evaluate the role of longitudinal imaging review in detecting IPV.

Methods: Radiology studies were reviewed in chronological order and IPV-related injuries were recorded among 400 victims of any type of abuse (group 1) and 288 of physical abuse (group 2) from January 2013 to June 2018. The likelihood of IPV was assessed as low/moderate/high based on the review of (1) current and prior anatomically related studies only and (2) longitudinal imaging history consisting of all prior studies. The first radiological study date with moderate/high suspicion was compared to the self-reported date by the victim.

Results: A total of 135 victims (33.8%) in group 1 and 144 victims (50%) in group 2 demonstrated IPV-related injuries. Musculoskeletal injury was most common (58.2% and 44.5% in groups 1 and 2, respectively; most commonly lower/upper extremity fractures), followed by neurologic injury (20.9% and 32.9% in groups 1 and 2, respectively; most commonly facial injury). With longitudinal imaging history, radiologists were able to identify IPV in 31% of group 1 and 46.5% of group 2 patients. Amongst these patients, earlier identification by radiologists was provided compared to the self-reported date in 62.3% of group 1 (median, 64 months) and in 52.6% of group 2 (median, 69.3 months).

Conclusions: Musculoskeletal and neurological injuries were the most common IPV-related injuries. Knowledge of common injuries and longitudinal imaging history may help IPV identification when victims are not forthcoming.

Key points: • Musculoskeletal injuries were the most common type of IPV-related injury, followed by neurological injuries. • With longitudinal imaging history, radiologists were able to better raise the suspicion of IPV compared to the selective review of anatomically related studies only. • With longitudinal imaging history, radiologists were able to identify IPV earlier than the self-reported date by a median of 64 months in any type of abuse, and a median of 69.3 months in physical abuse.

Keywords: Intimate partner violence; Radiology; Wounds and injuries.