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Pediatricians, Radiologists Key in Diagnosing Child Abuse

Last Updated: April 27, 2009.

Pediatricians and radiologists have important roles to play in the diagnosis of child abuse, according to two policy statements published in the May issue of Pediatrics.

MONDAY, April 27 (HealthDay News) -- Pediatricians and radiologists have important roles to play in the diagnosis of child abuse, according to two policy statements published in the May issue of Pediatrics.

In the first statement, Michael A. Di Pietro, M.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues discuss the importance of imaging in the diagnosis of child abuse. They note that skeletal trauma is often the strongest radiologic indicator of abuse, while head trauma, spinal trauma and thoracoabdominal trauma may also occur.

In the second statement, Cindy W. Christian, M.D., from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and colleagues discuss advances in the understanding of the types of injuries associated with abusive head trauma in infants and young children, also known as "shaken baby syndrome." They recommend that pediatricians learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of abusive head trauma, know how to conduct a proper medical evaluation and consult with subspecialists, and educate parents and caregivers regarding safe approaches to calm crying infants and the dangers of injuring the infant's head.

"The diagnostic imaging of suspected inflicted injury in infancy and childhood should be performed with at least the same rigor used in the imaging evaluation of accidental trauma and naturally occurring disease," Di Pietro and colleagues conclude. "To be confident that the imaging studies are acquired and interpreted in a thorough and informed manner, clinicians charged with reporting and providing evidence in cases of suspected abuse should work in close collaboration with radiologists experienced in pediatric imaging."

Abstract - Di Pietro
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Abstract - Christian
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