5 years ago

Clinicopathological Findings in Abusive Head Trauma: Analysis of 110 Infant Autopsy Eyes

To investigate the histopathology in a large series of autopsy eyes from children with abusive head trauma. Design Retrospective case-control series. Methods One hundred and ten eyes from 55 autopsies examined at an academic tertiary referral center over 21 years were tabulated for histopathology: subdural hemorrhage in the optic nerve sheath, intrascleral hemorrhage, any retinal hemorrhage, ora-extended hemorrhage, cherry hemorrhage, perimacular ridge, and internal limiting membrane tear. Select tissues with cherry hemorrhage were further examined by transmission electron microscopy. Results Sixty eyes were identified as “abusive head trauma” (cases), 46 as “alternative cause” (controls), and 4 as “abusive head trauma survivor”. Cases were legally verified or confirmed by confession in all except 1 case. All ocular histopathologic observations from cases were similar or more frequent in infants younger than 16 months of age. When present, a cherry hemorrhage and perimacular ridge were most often found together, and only with a torn internal limiting membrane. Both abusive head trauma survivor cases demonstrated severe optic nerve atrophy and macular ganglion cell loss. Conclusions Younger infants may be even more susceptible to damage from vitreomacular traction by rotational and/or acceleration–deceleration forces. Identifying cherry hemorrhages may aid abusive head trauma diagnosis. Survivor abusive head trauma pathology demonstrates unique, irreversible macular and optic nerve damage.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0002939414004917

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