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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2013 Mar;200(3):641-4. doi: 10.2214/AJR.12.8878.

Yield of radiographic skeletal surveys for detection of hand, foot, and spine fractures in suspected child abuse.

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1
Department of Radiology, Boston Children's Hospital, 300 Longwood Ave, Boston, MA 02115, USA. Paul.kleinman@childrens.harvard.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Previous studies have found that fractures involving the spine, hands, and feet are rare on skeletal surveys in cases of suspected child abuse, leading some authors to suggest eliminating these regions from the initial skeletal survey protocol. We assessed this recommendation by performing a historical review of these injuries in a pediatric population undergoing film screen-based radiographic skeletal surveys for suspected child abuse.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

This cross-sectional retrospective study reviewed reports of initial skeletal surveys of all children younger than 2 years with suspected abuse imaged between April 1988 and December 2001. Radiographic skeletal survey imaging was performed according to American College of Radiology standards. Sixty-two percent (225/365) of all skeletal surveys had positive findings, and 44% (98/225) showed more than one fracture. Surveys with fractures involving the spine, hands, or feet were identified, and the data were tabulated and analyzed.

RESULTS:

Twenty of 365 studies (5.5%) yielded fractures involving the spine, hands, or feet. Of all positive skeletal surveys, 8.9% (20/225) had fractures involving the spine, hands, or feet. Of all patients with more than one fracture on skeletal survey, 20.4% (20/98) had fractures involving these regions.

CONCLUSION:

These data, acquired during the film-screen era, suggest that fractures of the spine, hands, and feet may not be rare in infants and toddlers in cases of suspected child abuse. The benefits of eliminating views of these regions from the initial skeletal survey should be carefully weighed against the cost of missing these potentially important injuries in at-risk pediatric populations.

PMID:
23436856
DOI:
10.2214/AJR.12.8878
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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