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Child Abuse Negl. 2014 Jul;38(7):1267-74. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2014.01.021. Epub 2014 Mar 14.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)-related posterior rib fractures in neonates and infants following recommended changes in CPR techniques.

Author information

1
Department of Pediatrics, Medical Center, University of Bonn, Adenauerallee 119, 53113 Bonn, Germany.
2
Department of Pediatrics, Clinical Center, Nuremburg, Germany.
3
Department of General Pediatrics, University Children's Hospital, Düsseldorf, Germany.
4
Department of Radiology, Medical Center, University of Bonn, Germany.

Abstract

Posterior rib fractures are highly indicative of non-accidental trauma (NAT) in infants. Since 2000, the "two-thumbs" technique for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) of newborns and infants has been recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA). This technique is similar to the grip on an infant's thorax while shaking. Is it possible that posterior rib fractures in newborns and infants could be caused by the "two-thumbs" technique? Using computerized databases from three German children's hospitals, we identified all infants less than 12 months old who underwent professional CPR within a 10-year period. We included all infants with anterior-posterior chest radiographs taken after CPR. Exclusion criteria were sternotomy, osteopenia, various other bone diseases and NAT. The radiographs were independently reviewed by the Chief of Pediatric Radiology (MB) and a Senior Pediatrician, Head of the local Child Protection Team (IF). Eighty infants with 546 chest radiographs were identified, and 50 of those infants underwent CPR immediately after birth. Data concerning the length of CPR was available for 41 infants. The mean length of CPR was 11min (range: 1-180min, median: 3min). On average, there were seven radiographs per infant. A total of 39 infants had a follow-up radiograph after at least 10 days. No rib fracture was visible on any chest X-ray. The results of this study suggest rib fracture after the use of the "two-thumbs" CPR technique is uncommon. Thus, there should be careful consideration of abuse when these fractures are identified, regardless of whether CPR was performed and what technique used. The discovery of rib fractures in an infant who has undergone CPR without underlying bone disease or major trauma warrants a full child protection investigation.

KEYWORDS:

Abusive head trauma; CPR in infants; Chest radiographs; Child abuse; Posterior rib fractures; “two-thumbs” technique

PMID:
24636360
DOI:
10.1016/j.chiabu.2014.01.021
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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