Imaging of Abusive Head Trauma: A Review and Update

  • Jason N. Nixon
  • Bruno P. Soares
Pediatrics (J Courtier, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Pediatrics


Abusive head trauma is the leading cause of severe traumatic brain injury in children <2 years of age. Because the clinical presentation of children with abusive head trauma can be nonspecific, CT and MR imaging play an important role in distinguishing these cases from episodes of accidental head trauma. In this article, we review the pathophysiology, imaging appearance, and specificity of patterns of traumatic brain injury associated with abusive head trauma, and highlight recent updates in the understanding of these injuries.


Abusive head trauma Non-accidental trauma Shaken baby syndrome Inflicted brain injury Subdural hematoma Subdural hygroma 



Abusive head trauma


Non-accidental trauma


Craniocervical junction


Diffusion-weighted imaging


Susceptibility-weighted imaging


Subdural hematoma


Retinal hemorrhage


Sudden infant death syndrome


Acute life threatening event


Dural venous sinus thrombosis


Diffuse axonal injury


Hypoxic-ischemic injury


Accidental (non-abusive) head trauma


Benign enlargement of the subarachnoid space



Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Radiology, Seattle Children’s HospitalUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Neuroradiology Division, Department of Radiology and Imaging SciencesEmory University School of MedicineAtlantaUSA

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