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Pediatr Neurosurg. 1996 Jun;24(6):292-8.

Long-term outcome in infants with the shaking-impact syndrome.

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Division of Neurosurgery, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Nonaccidental injury accounts for nearly one quarter of all hospital admissions for head injury in infancy, and is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Long-term outcome in survivors, however, has been incompletely studied. In this series, 84 infants 2 years of age and younger with the shaking-impact syndrome consecutively admitted to a single hospital between 1978 and 1988 were identified. A questionnaire detailing current medical, developmental, and behavioral status was developed, and attempts were made to locate the 62 children surviving the acute injury. Family instability and strict confidentiality restrictions precluded locating the majority of children, but 14 children with demographic and injury characteristics similar to those of the overall group were contacted at an average of 9 years after injury. Seven children were severely disabled or vegetative, 2 were moderately disabled, and 5 had a good outcome. Of the latter group, 3 had repeated grades and/or required tutoring. Acute factors associated with poor outcome included unresponsiveness on admission, need for intubation, age less than 6 months, and bilateral or unilateral diffuse hypodensity on CT scan. All children with bilateral diffuse hypodensity and loss of gray-white differentiation on CT scan remained blind, retarded, nonverbal, and nonambulatory in spite of aggressive medical and surgical management. This study suggests that the majority of children surviving the shaking-impact syndrome suffer major permanent morbidity, and that acute factors predicting long-term outcome may help guide aggressiveness of care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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