Comparison of the characteristics of retinal hemorrhages in abusive head trauma versus normal vaginal delivery

So Young Kim, Linda A. Morgan, Andrew J. Baldwin, Donny W. Suh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Retinal hemorrhage (RH) is one of the hallmarks of abusive head trauma (AHT); however, RH is also encountered with normal vaginal deliveries (NVD) and thus presents the clinician with a diagnostic dilemma. The purpose of this study was to compare RHs in AHT with those of NVD. Methods: Records of with AHT and NVD infants with RH evaluated from 2013 to 2015 were reviewed retrospectively. Pattern, size, extent, and severity were compared using RetCam images. Severities were calculated using the RH grading scale. Results: A total of 20 patients with AHT and 200 NVD infants were included. RH size was significantly larger in AHT patients compared to the NVD group (3.1 ± 0.512 vs 0.96 ± 0.046 disk diameters, resp.). The AHT group also demonstrated a higher RH incidence involving all three retinal layers compared to the NVD group (60% vs 0.6%, resp. [P < 0.001]). Vitreous hemorrhages were more common in the AHT group compared to the NVD group (54.3% vs 1.5% [P < 0.001]). Also, the grading scale demonstrated higher scores in the AHT group than the NVD group (7.15 ± 0.948 vs 3.59 ± 0.274, resp.). Conclusions: AHT and NVD share similar retinal findings, but they also have unique differentiators. In our subjects, AHT presented with more severe retinal findings than NVD, including larger RH size, a higher percentage involving all three retinal layers, a higher percentage of vitreous hemorrhages, and higher RH grading scale scores. Also, NVD retinal hemorrhages resolved quickly, within 4 weeks of birth in 95% of the patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-144
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of AAPOS
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Ophthalmology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Comparison of the characteristics of retinal hemorrhages in abusive head trauma versus normal vaginal delivery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this