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An Pediatr (Barc). 2013 Feb;78(2):118-22. doi: 10.1016/j.anpedi.2012.05.027. Epub 2012 Jul 15.

[Hospital admissions due to child maltreatment over a fifteen year period].

[Article in Spanish]

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Servicio de Urgencias de Pediatría, Hospital Universitari Sant Joan de Déu, Barcelona, Spain.



To measure the incidence of admissions for maltreatment between 1995 and 2009 and to determine their main clinical and epidemiological characteristics.


Retrospective review of children diagnosed with maltreatment over 15 years in a third level hospital.


A total of 97 cases (median incidence 0.5 cases per 1000 children admitted per year) were found. There was an increasing rate of physical maltreatment, while those of sexual abuse declined. 51 (53.6%) female; median age 3.3 years (p25-75: 7.6 months-10.0 years). Just under half (43.3%) or 42 patients, had a primary complaint unrelated to abuse. The most common injuries were haematomas (43; 44.3%). In 91 (93.8%) cases the perpetrator was found to be a member of the child's own family (77; 74.9%, one of the parents or both).


The increase in admissions for physical maltreatment stresses the need to insist in a prevention policy. The decrease in admissions for sexual abuse was probably attributable to changes in the care circuit rather than a real decrease. In almost half of the cases the suspicion of maltreatment arose upon physical examination or after complementary tests, making it advisable that maltreatment is included in the differential diagnosis in multiple consultations. The majority of maltreatment occurred in the context of the victim's family.

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