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Saudi J Med Med Sci. 2019 Jan-Apr;7(1):9-15. doi: 10.4103/sjmms.sjmms_12_18. Epub 2018 Dec 14.

Characteristics of Nonaccidental Fractures in Abused Children in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Author information

1
Division of Orthopedic Surgery, King Abdulaziz Medical City - Ministry of National Guard, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
2
Division of Family and Community Medicine, King Abdulaziz Medical City - Ministry of National Guard, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
3
Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, King Abdullah Specialized Children Hospital, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
4
National Family Safety Program, Ministry of National Guard, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
5
Research Unit, College of Applied Medical Sciences, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
6
Division of Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect Team, National Family Safety Program, Ministry of National Guard, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Abstract

Background:

Child abuse is a major problem globally. Nonaccidental fractures are the second most common injury among physically abused children; however, there is a lack of studies describing the characteristics of nonaccidental fractures in Saudi Arabia.

Objectives:

The objective of this study was to determine the characteristics of nonaccidental fractures among abused children in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, using radiography.

Materials and Methods:

This retrospective study analyzed the data and radiographs of all nonaccidental fracture cases in children (aged ≤14 years) registered in the National Family Safety Program Registry at King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, between 2009 and 2015.

Results:

A total of 1512 cases of child abuse were found in the National Family Safety Program Registry database from Riyadh city. From these, 103 fractures were identified; however, radiographs were available for only 70 fractures from 56 children. Of these, 33 (59%) were boys, and 25 (45%) were aged 1-5 years. In terms of the type of abuse, neglect was more common than physical abuse (52% vs. 45%). History of injury was identified in 75% (42) of the cases, of which fall accounted for about 55% (23). Nearly 79% of children presented with a single bone fracture, while 21% had multiple bone fractures. The most common sites of fractures were skull (40%), upper limbs (31%) and lower limbs (29%). The most common fracture pattern was transverse fractures (48%), and it was mainly diagnosed in skull fractures (51%).

Conclusions:

This study found that in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, neglect is the most common cause of nonaccidental fractures, abusive head trauma is the most commonly associated injury and transverse fracture is the primary pattern of fracture in abused children. Notably, as most children experienced a single-bone fracture, the authors recommend clinicians to lower their threshold of considering abuse even in cases with an isolated fracture.

KEYWORDS:

Child abuse; Saudi Arabia; neglect; nonaccidental fracture; physical abuse

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