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Ann Emerg Med. 2001 Jan;37(1):65-74.

Pediatric minor head trauma.

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  • 1Division of Emergency Medicine, Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Head trauma is one of the most common childhood injuries, annually accounting for more than 500,000 emergency department visits, 95,000 hospital admissions, 7,000 deaths, and 29,000 permanent disabilities; hospital care costs alone exceed $1 billion annually. The majority of patients have minor head trauma, and, although most of these injuries are insignificant, minor head trauma causes a large number of intracranial injuries. The largest reduction in head trauma mortality rates results from preventing deterioration and secondary brain injury in patients with minor or moderate head injuries who initially appear to be at low risk. The goal of the clinician, therefore, is to identify those at risk for intracranial injury and subsequent deterioration, while limiting unnecessary imaging procedures. This article reviews the current data and practice in assessing and treating minor head trauma in children.

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