Ophthalmology referral as part of a multidisciplinary approach to suspected abusive head trauma
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OBJECTIVE: To determine the use of ophthalmology consultation as part of investigation of children with suspected abusive head trauma (AHT). METHODS: Retrospective chart review of children under age 3 years evaluated at McMaster Children's Hospital for suspected AHT from January 2011 to December 2017. RESULTS: Fifty-seven children were investigated, and 29 (50.9%) of these were determined to have likely AHT. Eleven (19.3%) had other nonaccidental injuries. A mean of 3.6 consulting services were involved. Neuroimaging was performed for 52 patients (91.2%), including all patients in the AHT group. Intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) was present in 21 of the 29 AHT children (72.4%). All 57 patients had a dilated fundus examination, and retinal hemorrhages (RH) were seen in 23 patients (40.4%), including 16 (55.2%) in the AHT group. All patients with RH in AHT also had ICH. In the AHT group, there were more cases of hemorrhages too numerous to count (68.8% vs 28.6%), multilayered hemorrhages (75.0% vs 57.1%), and hemorrhages in the posterior pole and periphery (87.5% vs 42.9%) when compared with patients with RH from other etiologies. Retinoschisis was seen in the AHT group only in 3 patients (18.8%). CONCLUSIONS: A multidisciplinary approach is important when investigating suspected AHT. Not every child with RH had suffered AHT; however, children with AHT showed more widespread and more multilayered RH. The only finding specific to AHT was retinoschisis.
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