OBJECTIVE. Mixed-density convexity subdural hematoma and interhemispheric subdural hematoma suggest nonaccidental head injury. The purpose of this retrospective observational study is to investigate subdural hematoma on noncontrast computed tomography in infants with nonaccidental head injury and to compare these findings in infants with accidental head trauma for whom the date of injury was known.

PATIENTS AND METHODS. Two blinded, independent observers retrospectively reviewed computed tomography scans with subdural hematoma performed on the day of presentation on 9 infant victims of nonaccidental head injury (mean age: 6.8 months; range: 1–25 months) and on 38 infants (mean age: 4.8 months; range: newborn to 34 months) with accidental head trauma (birth-related: 19; short fall: 17; motor vehicle accident: 2).

RESULTS. Homogeneous hyperdense subdural hematoma was significantly more common in children with accidental head trauma (28 of 38 [74%]; nonaccidental head trauma: 3 of 9 [33%]), whereas mixed-density subdural hematoma was significantly more common in cases of nonaccidental head injury (6 of 9 [67%]; accidental head trauma: 7 of 38 [18%]). Twenty-two (79%) subdural hematomas were homogeneously hyperdense on noncontrast computed tomography performed within two days of accidental head trauma, one (4%) was homogeneous and isodense compared to brain tissue, one (4%) was homogeneous and hypodense, and four (14%) were mixed-density. There was no statistically significant difference in the proportion of interhemispheric subdural hematoma, epidural hematoma, calvarial fracture, brain contusion, or subarachnoid hemorrhage.

CONCLUSIONS. Homogeneous hyperdense subdural hematoma is more frequent in cases of accidental head trauma; mixed-density subdural hematoma is more frequent in cases of nonaccidental head injury but may be observed within 48 hours of accidental head trauma. Interhemispheric subdural hematoma is not specific for inflicted head injury.

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