Pediatric cranial deformations: demographic associations

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  • 1 Surgical Outcomes Center for Kids, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, Nashville, Tennessee;
  • 2 University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia, South Carolina;
  • 3 Florida State University College of Medicine, Tallahassee, Florida;
  • 4 Department of Neurobiology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York;
  • 5 Department of Neurological Surgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee; and
  • 6 Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee
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OBJECTIVE

No study has established a relationship between cranial deformations and demographic factors. While the connection between the Back to Sleep campaign and cranial deformation has been outlined, considerations toward cultural or anthropological differences should also be investigated.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of 1499 patients (age range 2 months to less than 19 years) who presented for possible trauma in 2018 and had a negative CT scan. The cranial vault asymmetry index (CVAI) and cranial index (CI) were used to evaluate potential cranial deformations. The cohort was evaluated for differences between sex, race, and ethnicity among 1) all patients and 2) patients within the clinical treatment window (2–24 months of age). Patients categorized as “other” and those for whom data were missing were excluded from analysis.

RESULTS

In the CVAI cohort with available data (n = 1499, although data were missing for each variable), 800 (56.7%) of 1411 patients were male, 1024 (79%) of 1304 patients were Caucasian, 253 (19.4%) of 1304 patients were African American, and 127 (10.3%) of 1236 patients were of Hispanic/Latin American descent. The mean CVAI values were significantly different between sex (p < 0.001) and race (p < 0.001). However, only race was associated with differences in positional posterior plagiocephaly (PPP) diagnosis (p < 0.001). There was no significant difference in CVAI measurements for ethnicity (p = 0.968). Of the 520 patients in the treatment window cohort, 307 (59%) were male. Of the 421 patients with data for race, 334 were Caucasian and 80 were African American; 47 of the 483 patients with ethnicity data were of Hispanic/Latin American descent. There were no differences between mean CVAI values for sex (p = 0.404) or ethnicity (p = 0.600). There were significant differences between the mean CVAI values for Caucasian and African American patients (p < 0.001) and rate of PPP diagnosis (p = 0.02). In the CI cohort with available data (n = 1429, although data were missing for each variable), 849 (56.8%) of 1494 patients were male, 1007 (67.4%) of 1283 were Caucasian, 248 (16.6%) of 1283 were African American, and 138 patients with ethnicity data (n = 1320) of Hispanic/Latin American descent. Within the clinical treatment window cohort with available data, 373 (59.2%) of 630 patients were male, 403 were Caucasian (81.9%), 84 were African American (17.1%), and 55 (10.5%) of 528 patients were of Hispanic/Latin American descent. The mean CI values were not significantly different between sexes (p = 0.450) in either cohort. However, there were significant differences between CI measurements for Caucasian and African American patients (p < 0.001) as well as patients of Hispanic/Latin American descent (p < 0.001) in both cohorts.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors found no significant associations between cranial deformations and sex. However, significant differences exist between Caucasian and African American patients as well as patients with Hispanic/Latin American heritage. These findings suggest cultural or anthropological influences on defining skull deformations. Further investigation into the factors contributing to these differences should be undertaken.

ABBREVIATIONS CI = cranial index; CVAI = cranial vault asymmetry index; MCJCHV = Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt; PPP = posterior positional plagiocephaly; SIDS = sudden infant death syndrome.

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Contributor Notes

Correspondence Jarrett Foster: Surgical Outcomes Center for Kids (SOCKs), Nashville, TN. jarrett.foster@uscmed.sc.edu.

INCLUDE WHEN CITING Published online May 29, 2020; DOI: 10.3171/2020.3.PEDS2085.

Disclosures The authors report no conflict of interest concerning the materials or methods used in this study or the findings specified in this paper.

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