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Abusive head trauma: evidence, obfuscation, and informed management

JNSPG 75th Anniversary Invited Review Article

Ann-Christine Duhaime and Cindy W. Christian

Abusive head trauma remains the major cause of serious head injury in infants and young children. A great deal of research has been undertaken to inform the recognition, evaluation, differential diagnosis, management, and legal interventions when children present with findings suggestive of inflicted injury. This paper reviews the evolution of current practices and controversies, both with respect to medical management and to etiological determination of the variable constellations of signs, symptoms, and radiological findings that characterize young injured children presenting for neurosurgical care.

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Ann-Christine Duhaime

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Ann-Christine Duhaime

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Richard G. Ellenbogen

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Patricia B. Quebada and Ann-Christine Duhaime

✓The authors present the case of an 11-year-old girl who fell from standing height and experienced sudden cardiorespiratory arrest. A Chiari malformation Type I and a dolichoodontoid process were identified, and a brainstem contusion was found that correlated with the patient's clinical signs and symptoms. The authors hypothesize that the dolichoodontoid in a compromised craniocervical space created a contusion in the apposing brainstem at the time of head impact. The patient was left with permanent vocal cord paresis and spastic quadriparesis. Awareness of this rare occurrence is important in managing these congenital abnormalities and in assessing the risk of deterioration.

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Ann-Christine Duhaime

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Ann-Christine Duhaime

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