Occurrence of traumatic brain injury due to short falls with or without a witness by a nonrelative in children younger than 2 years

Shunsuke Amagasa MD, PhD, Satoko Uematsu MD, PhD and Satoshi Tsuji MD
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  • Division of Emergency and Transport Services, National Center for Child Health and Development, Tokyo, Japan
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OBJECTIVE

There is disagreement about the occurrence of severe traumatic brain injury, especially subdural hematoma, caused by short falls in very young children. To verify intracranial injury due to these falls and examine its characteristics, the authors compared infants and toddlers with head trauma witnessed by a nonrelative with those whose injuries were not witnessed by a nonrelative.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed clinical records of children younger than 2 years with head trauma due to a short fall who visited the emergency department of the National Center for Child Health and Development in Japan between April 2015 and March 2018. Patients were classified into two groups: falls that were witnessed by a nonrelative and falls not witnessed by a nonrelative. The authors compared the age in months, sex, mechanism of injury, fall height, prevalence rate of intracranial injury, skull fracture, type of traumatic brain injury, retinal hemorrhage, rib or long-bone fracture, and outcomes between patients whose fall was witnessed by a nonrelative and those whose fall was not witnessed by a nonrelative.

RESULTS

Among 1494 patients included in the present analysis, 392 patients were classified into the group of falls witnessed by a nonrelative, and 1102 patients were classified into the group of falls that were not witnessed by a nonrelative. The prevalence rates of intracranial injury, skull fracture, epidural hematoma, and subarachnoid hemorrhage were equal between the groups. The prevalence rate of subdural hematoma in the group whose falls were witnessed by a nonrelative was significantly lower than that of the other group (p = 0.027). There were no patients with subdural hematoma, retinal hemorrhage, or neurological sequelae in the group whose fall was witnessed by a nonrelative.

CONCLUSIONS

Subdural hematoma, retinal hemorrhage, and neurological sequelae due to short falls were not seen after witnessed falls in the present study.

ABBREVIATIONS AHT = abusive head trauma; EDH = epidural hematoma; ICI = intracranial injury; SAH = subarachnoid hemorrhage; SDH = subdural hematoma.

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Contributor Notes

Correspondence Shunsuke Amagasa: National Center for Child Health and Development, Tokyo, Japan. amagasa0828@gmail.com.

INCLUDE WHEN CITING Published online September 11, 2020; DOI: 10.3171/2020.6.PEDS20314.

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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