Neuroimaging of Pediatric Abusive Head Trauma

Mary Rolfes, MD; Julie Guerin, MD; Justin Brucker, MD; Peter Kalina, MD


Appl Radiol. 2019;48(3):30-38. 

In This Article


The evaluation of pediatric AHT is an ongoing diagnostic challenge as there are currently no standard criteria for differentiating AHT from accidental trauma. Clinical presentation and histories are often nonspecific, and thus investigations always warrant a thorough, multi-disciplinary approach including skeletal surveys and ophthalmologic exam. Neuroradiologic imaging is vital in the evaluation of suspected cases, potentially offering insight into the mechanisms of injury and long-term prognosis. With the use of more advanced imaging such as DWI, DTI, SWI and MRS, prediction of long-term outcomes and identification of those at high risk is becoming more feasible, offering an opportunity to intervene earlier.