An infant with subdural hematoma and retinal hemorrhages: does von Willebrand disease explain the findings?

Stray-Pedersen, Arne; Omland, Sigrid; Nedregaard, Bárd; Klevberg, Sjur; Rognum, Torleiv Ole
March 2011
Forensic Science, Medicine & Pathology;Mar2011, Vol. 7 Issue 1, p37
Academic Journal
n 11-month-old girl presented to hospital with a massive subdural haematoma and bilateral retinal haemorrhages following an allegedly minor fall. There were no external signs of bruising and no prior bleeding tendency was reported. Although initial analyses were normal, repeated testing of the coagulation-fibrinolysis system led to a diagnosis of mild von Willebrand disease (vWD) Type 1. It was concluded that minor head trauma as described by the parents, in the presence of such a coagulation disorder, could explain the findings. Police charges against the parents, initially accused of child abuse, were withdrawn. Retinal haemorrhages in infants with vWD have not been previously reported. This case highlights the importance of considering vWD as a possible contributory factor in cases of infant head injury.


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