Abusive head trauma (AHT) in young children results from repeated acceleration-deceleration injury with or without blunt head impact [1-4]. Characteristic clinical features include retinal hemorrhages (often bilateral, multilayered, and extensive), subdural hematoma, and/or occult fractures (particularly of the ribs and long bone metaphyses). Multiple episodes of trauma may occur before the abuse is detected [5-8]. Early recognition can be lifesaving.
The ophthalmologic aspects of abusive head trauma will be reviewed here. The pathogenesis of retinal hemorrhages in AHT, other aspects of AHT, and the management of suspected child abuse are discussed separately:
●(See "Child abuse: Anatomy and pathogenesis of retinal hemorrhages after abusive head trauma".)
●(See "Child abuse: Epidemiology, mechanisms, and types of abusive head trauma in infants and children".)
●(See "Child abuse: Evaluation and diagnosis of abusive head trauma in infants and children".)