Confessed Abusive Blunt Head Trauma

Marc De Leeuw, Emile Beuls, Paul Parizel, Philippe Jorens, Werner Jacobs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


It is generally accepted that terms referring to specific craniocerebral injury mechanisms must be replaced by the more general term abusive head trauma (AHT). Although blunt impact trauma remains an essential part of AHT, it has received far less attention in the literature than shaken-impact injuries. The current article presents 19 confessed cases of a series of 47 highly suspected AHT cases. Of these, 13 were confessed shaken-impact cases, and the other 6 confessed blunt trauma cases. There were no significant differences in the appearance of subdural hematoma, which was present in each case. Retinal hemorrhage, which was present in 10 of the 13 shaken-impact cases in which an ophthalmologic examination was conducted, occurred in 2 of the 6 blunt trauma cases. In 1 case, retinal hemorrhage probably had of metabolic origin. Skull fractures with an overlying subgaleal hematoma and a subdural hematoma below the fracture side were found in 5 of the blunt trauma cases but was also seen in the 2 shaken-impact cases with a skull fracture. The most important finding was a lucid interval (LI) in 3 blunt AHT cases. An LI does not seem to occur in shaking injuries because of the immediate and persistent effect of brain damage that such injuries involve. Therefore, LI makes it important to conduct a detailed investigation of the clinical course in time in suspected AHT cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-132
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


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