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Ray Bradford, Arabinda K. Choudhary and Mark S. Dias

Object

The appearance and evolution of neuroimaging abnormalities following abusive head trauma (AHT) is important for establishing the time frame over which these injuries might have occurred. From a legal perspective this frames the timing of the abuse and therefore identifies and excludes potential perpetrators. A previous pilot study involving 33 infants with AHT helped to refine the timing of these injuries but was limited by its small sample size. In the present study, the authors analyzed a larger group of 210 cases involving infants with AHT to chronicle the first appearance and evolution of radiological (CT, MRI) abnormalities.

Methods

All children younger than 24 months admitted to the Penn State Hershey Medical Center with AHT over a 10-year period were identified from a medical record review; the time of injury was determined through an evaluation of the clinical records. All imaging studies were analyzed, and the appearance and evolution of abnormalities were chronicled on serial neuroimaging studies obtained in the days and weeks after injury.

Results

One hundred five infants with specific injury dates and available imaging studies were identified; a subset of 43 children additionally had documented times of injury. In infants with homogeneously hyperdense subdural hematomas (SDHs) on initial CT scans, the first hypodense component appeared within the SDH between 0.3 and 16 days after injury, and the last hyperdense subdural component disappeared between 2 and 40 days after injury. In infants with mixed-density SDHs on initial scans, the last hyperdense component disappeared between 1 and 181 days. Parenchymal hypodensities appeared on CT scans performed as early as 1.2 hours, and all were visible within 27 hours after the injury. Rebleeding into SDHs was documented in 17 cases (16%) and was always asymptomatic.

Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain was performed in 49 infants. Among those with SDH, 5 patterns were observed. Patterns I and II reflected homogeneous SDH; Pattern I (T1 hyperintensity and T2/FLAIR hypointensity, “early subacute”) more commonly appeared on scans performed earlier after injury compared with Pattern II (T1 hyperintensity and T2/FLAIR hyperintensity, “late subacute”), although there was considerable overlap. Patterns III and IV reflected heterogeneous SDH; Pattern III contained relatively equal mixtures having different intensities, whereas Pattern IV had fluid that was predominantly T1 hypointense and T2/FLAIR hyperintense. Again, Pattern III more commonly appeared on scans performed earlier after injury compared with Pattern IV, although there was significant overlap.

Conclusions

These data extend the preliminary data reported by Dias and colleagues and provide a framework upon which injuries in AHT can be timed as well as the limitations on such timing estimates.

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Megha Madhukar, Vinod G. Maller, Arabinda K. Choudhary, Mark R. Iantosca, Charles S. Specht and Mark S. Dias

Primary intramedullary spinal cord germinoma (PISCG) is an exceedingly rare diagnosis, with fewer than 30 cases reported in the literature. It is even less common in the pediatric population. Usually, initial imaging at patient presentation reveals a mass. The authors describe the unique case of a child whose initial imaging showed only focal spinal cord atrophy, which was the earliest sign of a slowly growing intramedullary lesion that was eventually proven via biopsy to represent a PISCG. The authors outline this child's diagnostically challenging presentation, review the events leading up to a diagnosis, briefly discuss PISCG, and summarize their recommendations for other physicians who may encounter a similar case. They assert that PISCG should be considered as a rare entity in the differential diagnosis of progressive spinal cord dysfunction even in the absence of an MRI abnormality of an intrinsic spinal cord mass, especially if there is unexplained focal atrophy of the cord.

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Christina Huang, Elias Rizk, Mark Iantosca, Andrea L. Zaenglein, Klaus F. Helm, Arabinda K. Choudhary and Mark S. Dias

An in utero female was found to have a small hemorrhage at the foramen of Monro, hydrocephalus, and what was originally interpreted as a Dandy-Walker variant. At birth she had macrocephaly and numerous cutaneous, multifocal, red-pink blanchable macules. Postnatal MRI demonstrated a hemorrhagic soft-tissue mass involving the upper brainstem, thalamus, and basal ganglia most consistent with in utero complex multifocal intracranial hemorrhage. The skin lesions were thought to be consistent with multifocal lymphangioendotheliomatosis with thrombocytopenia (MLT). The size and location of the hemorrhage precluded operative intervention, although the hydrocephalus was treated with a ventricular shunt. The child continues to have severe developmental delays. Multifocal lymphangioendotheliomatosis with thrombocytopenia is a multifocal vascular disorder most commonly involving the skin and gastrointestinal tract. Intracranial hemorrhages are rare in this context. This case is the third reported instance of MLT with associated intracranial hemorrhage and the only case described in the neurosurgical literature. The authors review the presenting features and pathophysiology of this condition.