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Cuadernos de Medicina Forense

versão On-line ISSN 1988-611Xversão impressa ISSN 1135-7606


RUFO CAMPOS, M.. Shaken baby syndrome. Cuad. med. forense [online]. 2006, n.43-44, pp.39-45. ISSN 1988-611X.

Though the original description of shaking first appeared in a paper published in The British Medical Journal in 1971 by Guthkelch, a paediatric radiologist, Caffey (1972), had the notion that an association between chronic subdural haematoma and long bone fracture in children should be a red flag for child abuse. The shaken baby syndrome (SBS) is a form of physical abuse characterized as a constellation of clinical findings including the presence of a subdural or subarachnoid haematoma or diffuse cerebral oedema, retinal haemorrhages and absence of other physical signs of traumatic injury. Shaking head accelerations can potentially cause severe cervical spinal cord or brain stem injury in the infant at levels well below those reported for the SBS. The suspected existence of this syndrome is unpleasant both for the health care professional and for the patient's relatives. The SBS causes severe encephalopathy and vision problems, blindness in many cases, after showing voluminous subdural and/or epidural haematomas which lead to a severe neuronal lost and gliosis. It is necessary to consider that for an infant presenting with ostensibly unexplained intracranial bleeding with or without external evidence of injury under given circumstances, accidental injury from a seemingly innocuous fall, must be considered intentional injury.

Palavras-chave : Shaken baby syndrome; Child abuse; Intracranial haematoma.

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