Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Arch Dis Child. 2011 Dec;96(12):1103-12. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2011-300630. Epub 2011 Sep 30.

Neuroimaging: what neuroradiological features distinguish abusive from non-abusive head trauma? A systematic review.

Author information

  • 1School of Medicine, Cardiff University, UHW, Heath Park, Cardiff CF14 4XN, UK.



To identify the evidence base behind the neuroradiological features that differentiate abusive head trauma (AHT) from non-abusive head trauma (nAHT).


Systematic review.


Literature search of 14 databases, websites, textbooks, conference abstracts and references (1970-February 2010). Studies had two independent reviews (three if disputed) and critical appraisal.


Primary comparative studies of children <11 years old hospitalised with AHT and nAHT diagnosed on CT or MRI.


Neuroradiological features that differentiated AHT from nAHT.


21 studies of children predominantly <3 years old were analysed. Subdural haemorrhages (SDH) were significantly associated with AHT (OR 8.2, 95% CI 6.1 to 11). Subarachnoid haemorrhages were seen equally in AHT and nAHT and extradural haemorrhages (EDH) were significantly associated with nAHT (OR for AHT 0.1, 95% CI 0.07 to 0.18). Multiple (OR 6, 95% CI 2.5 to 14.4), interhemispheric (OR 7.9, 95% CI 4.7 to 13), convexity (OR 4.9, 95% CI 1.3 to 19.4) and posterior fossa haemorrhages (OR 2.5, 95% CI 1 to 6) were associated with AHT. Hypoxic-ischaemic injury (HII) (OR 3.7, 95% CI 1.4 to 10) and cerebral oedema (OR 2.2, 95% CI 1.0 to 4.5) were significantly associated with AHT, while focal parenchymal injury was not a discriminatory feature. SDH of low attenuation were more common in AHT than in nAHT.


Multiple SDH over the convexity, interhemispheric haemorrhages, posterior fossa SDH, HII and cerebral oedema are significantly associated with AHT and should be considered together with clinical features when identifying the condition.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center