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National study shows that abusive head trauma mortality in Sweden was at least 10 times lower than in other Western countries.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgical Sciences, Forensic Medicine.
2017 (English)In: Acta Paediatrica, ISSN 0803-5253, E-ISSN 1651-2227Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

AIM: The validity of the diagnostic criteria for abusive head trauma (AHT) and its attributes have been widely debated. This national study investigated the possibility of false positive and false negative cases of fatal AHT in Sweden.

METHOD: This was a retrospective evaluation of the records of 733 deceased infants up to the age of 365 days who were examined during 1994-2013 at the six forensic medicine departments. All the records were scrutinised for possible cases of AHT.

RESULTS: We included 12 cases, out of which eight had been diagnosed as AHT. Of these 12 infants, eight had a concomitant disease or perinatal illness, five were born prematurely, and three were twins. Figures from other Western countries would suggest 6-7 deaths per 100,000 per year in Sweden but in reality, there was a maximum possible incidence of 0.6 per 100,000 infants per year.

CONCLUSION: The risk of unreported fatal AHT in Sweden was low and there may have been cases misdiagnosed as AHT. The at least 10 times lower incidence than has been reported from other Western countries, raises the question if previously reported higher incidences of fatal AHT have been exaggerated. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keyword [en]
Abusive head trauma, Sweden, infant death, shaken baby syndrome, subdural hematoma
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-333284DOI: 10.1111/apa.14138PubMedID: 29105967OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-333284DiVA: diva2:1155795
Available from: 2017-11-09 Created: 2017-11-09 Last updated: 2017-11-09

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