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CNS Injuries in Abusive Head Trauma.

OBJECTIVE: Abusive head trauma (AHT) is one of the most common subtypes of nonaccidental trauma and is a leading cause of traumatic brain injury in young children. Imaging plays a crucial role in the evaluation of children with suspected AHT and can aid in accurate diagnosis because clinical presentation may be nonspecific. In this article, the CNS injuries that are characteristic of AHT are reviewed with an emphasis on pathophysiology and imaging appearance.

CONCLUSION: AHT is a frequent cause of neurologic injury in children, particularly in infants in the first year of life. Imaging evaluation plays a vital role in determining the diagnosis and prognosis. A review of the intracranial injuries that are common in AHT cases has been provided. Understanding the common patterns of abusive head injury can help increase diagnostic accuracy both by increasing recognition of injuries with a high specificity for AHT and by avoiding unwarranted concern in patients with concordant injury patterns and clinical history.

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