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.
Richard G. Ellenbogen
Ann-Christine Duhaime and Daniel Schwartz
Michael T. Prange, Brittany Coats, Ann-Christine Duhaime and Susan S. Margulies
Object. Rotational loading conditions have been shown to produce subdural hemorrhage and diffuse axonal injury. No experimental data are available with which to compare the rotational response of the head of an infant during accidental and inflicted head injuries. The authors sought to compare rotational deceleration sustained by the head among free falls, from different heights onto different surfaces, with those sustained during shaking and inflicted impact.
Methods. An anthropomorphic surrogate of a 1.5-month-old human infant was constructed and used to simulate falls from 0.3 m (1 ft), 0.9 m (3 ft), and 1.5 m (5 ft), as well as vigorous shaking and inflicted head impact. During falls, the surrogate experienced occipital contact against a concrete surface, carpet pad, or foam mattress. For shakes, investigators repeatedly shook the surrogate in an anteroposterior plane; inflicted impact was defined as the terminal portion of a vigorous shake, in which the surrogate's occiput made contact with a rigid or padded surface. Rotational velocity was recorded directly and the maximum (peak—peak) change in angular velocity and the peak angular acceleration were calculated.
Analysis of variance revealed significant increases in the and associated with falls onto harder surfaces and from higher heights. During inflicted impacts against rigid surfaces, the and were significantly greater than those measured under all other conditions.
Conclusions. Vigorous shakes of this infant model produced rotational responses similar to those resulting from minor falls, but inflicted impacts produced responses that were significantly higher than even a 1.5-m fall onto concrete. Because larger accelerations are associated with an increasing likelihood of injury, the findings indicate that inflicted impacts against hard surfaces are more likely to be associated with inertial brain injuries than falls from a height less than 1.5 m or from shaking.