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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2003 Jan;127(1):94-7.

Marked calvarial thickening and dural changes following chronic ventricular shunting for shaken baby syndrome.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Md, USA.


We report the case of a 23-year-old woman who was abused at the age of 5 months. She suffered from complications frequently associated with shaken baby syndrome, such as hydrocephalus secondary to subarachnoid hemorrhage. The patient underwent a procedure to place a ventriculoperitoneal shunt 3 weeks after her presentation with signs of abuse. The ventricular shunt remained in place throughout her life, and the patient received multiple revisions. She also was noted to have a markedly thickened calvarium on both radiographs and computed tomographic scan at 6 years old. She died following an episode of grand mal status epilepticus. An autopsy was performed and her skull was found to be thickened circumferentially. Histologic examination revealed increased cancellous space with normal trabecular bone. It is hypothesized that intracranial hypotension resulting from chronic ventricular shunting lead to her thickened calvarium, a condition previously reported as hyperostosis cranii ex vacuo. Dural changes seen microscopically corroborate this hypothesis.

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