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Br J Radiol. 2010 Sep;83(993):736-43. doi: 10.1259/bjr/36871113. Epub 2010 Jul 20.

Is there a causal relationship between the hypoxia-ischaemia associated with cardiorespiratory arrest and subdural haematomas? An observational study.

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University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK.


The aim of this study was to determine the frequency of subdural haematomas (SDHs) occurring in infants presenting following atraumatic cardiorespiratory collapse. This study was a review of retrospective case notes, brain imaging and post-mortem examinations carried out in the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and emergency department (ED) in a tertiary paediatric centre in the UK. The study included infants and children less than 4 years old dying in the ED or admitted to the PICU after atraumatic cardiorespiratory arrest. We identified macroscopic SDHs on brain imaging or post-mortem examination. Of those children who experienced a cardiorespiratory arrest from a non-traumatic cause and met inclusion criteria, 33 presented and died in the ED and 17 were admitted to the PICU. These children had a post-mortem examination, brain imaging or both. None of these infants had a significant SDH. One child had a small clot adherent to the dura found on post-mortem and two had microscopic intradural haemorrhage, but it is unclear in each case whether this was artefact, as each had otherwise normal brains. Subdural haematoma arising in infants or young children in the context of catastrophic cardiorespiratory compromise from a non-traumatic cause was not observed.

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