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Pediatric abdominal injury patterns caused by "falls": A comparison between nonaccidental and accidental trauma.

BACKGROUND/PURPOSE: Falling from a low height is the most common history given by caregivers of pediatric nonaccidental trauma (NAT) victims evaluated for blunt abdominal trauma (BAT). The purpose of this study is to compare the patterns of injuries seen in children with BAT who are victims of NAT with those seen after a fall-related incident.

METHODS: Trauma database query from regional pediatric trauma centers identified patients were who were evaluated for BAT resulting from either NAT or a fall. Study groups included patients younger than five years who were (1) victims or NAT, or (2) fall casualties.

RESULTS: Sixty-five NATs and 115 fall casualties were identified. NAT victims had higher ISS, had more severe head injuries according to AIS scores, had more hollow viscus injuries, and had more pancreatic injuries. Fall casualties were more likely to have solid organ injuries.

CONCLUSIONS: When evaluating children with a history of blunt abdominal trauma caused by a fall, suspicion for NAT is warranted if the child is younger than five years, has a hollow viscus, pancreatic, and/or severe head injury and has a high ISS. Likewise, isolated splenic or renal injury allays suspicion for NAT.

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