Inflicted Childhood Neurotrauma (Shaken Baby Syndrome): Ophthalmic Findings

Forbes, Brian J.; Christian, Cindy W.; Judkins, Alexander R.; Kryston, Kasia
March 2004
Journal of Pediatric Ophthalmology & Strabismus;Mar/Apr2004, Vol. 41 Issue 2, p80
Academic Journal
Inflicted childhood neurotrauma (shaken baby syndrome) is the term used for violent, nonaccidental, repetitive, unrestrained acceleration--deceleration head and neck movements, with or without blunt head trauma, combined with a unique, age-related biomechanical sensitivity in children typically younger than 3 years. This syndrome is typically characterized by a combination of fractures, intracranial hemorrhages, and intraocular hemorrhages. Retinal hemorrhage is the most common ophthalmic finding, and usually occurs at all levels of the retina. In recent years, increasing pressure has been placed on ophthalmologists to render diagnostic interpretations of the retinal findings in children suspected to be victims, which may have great forensic implications in criminal proceedings. New research has increased our understanding of the pathophysiology of retinal hemorrhages, the importance of specifically characterizing the types, patterns, and extent of these retinal hemorrhages, and the differential diagnosis.


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