Leading initial
M
First name
Katherine
Last name
Henry

Title

Practice Variation in Use of Neuroimaging Among Infants With Concern for Abuse Treated in Children's Hospitals.

Year of Publication

2022

Number of Pages

e225005

Date Published

2022 Apr 01

ISSN Number

2574-3805

Abstract

<p><strong>Importance: </strong>Infants who appear neurologically well and have fractures concerning for abuse are at increased risk for clinically occult head injuries. Evidence of excess variation in neuroimaging practices when abuse is suspected may indicate opportunity for quality and safety improvement.</p>

<p><strong>Objective: </strong>To quantify neuroimaging practice variation across children's hospitals among infants with fractures evaluated for abuse, with the hypothesis that hospitals would vary substantially in neuroimaging practices. As a secondary objective, factors associated with neuroimaging use were identified, with the hypothesis that age and factors associated with potential biases (ie, payer type and race or ethnicity) would be associated with neuroimaging use.</p>

<p><strong>Design, Setting, and Participants: </strong>This cross-sectional study included infants with a femur or humerus fracture or both undergoing abuse evaluation at 44 select US children's hospitals in the Pediatric Health Information System (PHIS) from January 1, 2016, through March 30, 2020, including emergency department, observational, and inpatient encounters. Included infants were aged younger than 12 months with a femur or humerus fracture or both without overt signs or symptoms of head injury for whom a skeletal survey was performed. To focus on infants at increased risk for clinically occult head injuries, infants with billing codes suggestive of overt neurologic signs or symptoms were excluded. Multivariable logistic regression was used to investigate demographic, clinical, and temporal factors associated with use of neuroimaging. Marginal standardization was used to report adjusted percentages of infants undergoing neuroimaging by hospital and payer type. Data were analyzed from March 2021 through January 2022.</p>

<p><strong>Exposures: </strong>Covariates included age, sex, race and ethnicity, payer type, fracture type, presentation year, and hospital.</p>

<p><strong>Main Outcomes and Measures: </strong>Use of neuroimaging by CT or MRI.</p>

<p><strong>Results: </strong>Of 2585 infants with humerus or femur fracture or both undergoing evaluations for possible child abuse, there were 1408 (54.5%) male infants, 1726 infants (66.8%) who were publicly insured, and 1549 infants (59.9%) who underwent neuroimaging. The median (IQR) age was 6.1 (3.2-8.3) months. There were 748 (28.9%) Black non-Hispanic infants, 426 (16.5%) Hispanic infants, 1148 (44.4%) White non-Hispanic infants. In multivariable analyses, younger age (eg, odds ratio [OR] for ages &lt;3 months vs ages 9 to &lt;12 months, 13.2; 95% CI, 9.54-18.2; P &lt; .001), male sex (OR, 1.47; 95% CI, 1.22-1.78; P &lt; .001), payer type (OR for public vs private insurance, 1.48; 95% CI, 1.18-1.85; P = .003), fracture type (OR for femur and humerus fracture vs isolated femur fracture, 5.36; 95% CI, 2.11-13.6; P = .002), and hospital (adjusted range in use of neuroimaging, 37.4% [95% CI 21.4%-53.5%] to 83.6% [95% CI 69.6%-97.5%]; P &lt; .001) were associated with increased use of neuroimaging, but race and ethnicity were not. Publicly insured infants were more likely to undergo neuroimaging (62.0%; 95% CI, 60.0%-64.1%) than privately insured infants (55.1%; 95% CI, 51.8%-58.4%) (P = .001).</p>

<p><strong>Conclusions and Relevance: </strong>This study found that hospitals varied in neuroimaging practices among infants with concern for abuse. Apparent disparities in practice associated with insurance type suggest opportunities for quality, safety, and equity improvement.</p>

DOI

10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.5005

Alternate Title

JAMA Netw Open

PMID

35442455

Title

Child Abuse Imaging and Findings in the Time of COVID-19.

Year of Publication

2022

Number of Pages

65-69

Date Published

2022 Feb 01

ISSN Number

1535-1815

Abstract

<p><strong>OBJECTIVE: </strong>To assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on physical abuse in young children, we compared the following before and during the pandemic: (1) skeletal survey volume, (2) percent of skeletal surveys revealing clinically unsuspected (occult) fractures, and (3) clinical severity of presentation. We hypothesized that during the pandemic, children with minor abusive injuries would be less likely to present for care, but severely injured children would present at a comparable rate to prepandemic times. We expected that during the pandemic, the volume of skeletal surveys would decrease but the percentage revealing occult fractures would increase and that injury severity would increase.</p>

<p><strong>METHODS: </strong>We conducted a retrospective study of children younger than 2 years undergoing skeletal surveys because of concern for physical abuse at a tertiary children's hospital. Subjects were identified by querying a radiology database during the March 15, 2019-October 15, 2019 (pre-COVID-19) period and the March 15, 2020-October 15, 2020 (COVID-19) period, followed by chart review to refine our population and abstract clinical and imaging data.</p>

<p><strong>RESULTS: </strong>Pre-COVID-19, 160 skeletal surveys were performed meeting the inclusion criteria, compared with 125 during COVID-19, representing a 22% decrease. No change was observed in identification of occult fractures (6.9% pre-COVID vs 6.4% COVID, P = 0.87). Clinical severity of presentation did not change, and child protective services involvement/referral decreased during COVID.</p>

<p><strong>CONCLUSIONS: </strong>Despite a &gt;20% decrease in skeletal survey performance early in the pandemic, the percent of skeletal surveys revealing occult fractures did not increase. Our results suggest that decreases in medical evaluations for abuse did not stem from decreased presentation of less severely injured children.</p>

DOI

10.1097/PEC.0000000000002630

Alternate Title

Pediatr Emerg Care

PMID

35100743

Title

Contrast-enhanced ultrasound of blunt abdominal trauma in children.

Year of Publication

2021

Date Published

2021 May 12

ISSN Number

1432-1998

Abstract

<p>Trauma is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in children, and rapid identification of organ injury is essential for successful treatment. Contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) is an appealing alternative to contrast-enhanced CT in the evaluation of children with blunt abdominal trauma, mainly with respect to the potential reduction of population-level exposure to ionizing radiation. This is particularly important in children, who are more vulnerable to the hazards of ionizing radiation than adults. CEUS is useful in hemodynamically stable children with isolated blunt low- to moderate-energy abdominal trauma to rule out solid organ injuries. It can also be used to further evaluate uncertain contrast-enhanced CT findings, as well as in the follow-up of conservatively managed traumatic injuries. CEUS can be used to detect abnormalities that are not apparent by conventional US, including infarcts, pseudoaneurysms and active bleeding. In this article we present the current experience from the use of CEUS for the evaluation of pediatric blunt abdominal trauma, emphasizing the examination technique and interpretation of major abnormalities associated with injuries in the liver, spleen, kidneys, adrenal glands, pancreas and testes. We also discuss the limitations of the technique and offer a review of the major literature on this topic in children, including an extrapolation of experience from adults.</p>

DOI

10.1007/s00247-020-04869-w

Alternate Title

Pediatr Radiol

PMID

33978795

Title

What's in a name? Sentinel injuries in abused infants.

Year of Publication

2021

Number of Pages

861-865

Date Published

2021 May

ISSN Number

1432-1998

Abstract

<p>Infants are at greatest risk of severe and fatal physical abuse yet they sometimes present for medical care multiple times with abusive injuries prior to being diagnosed with abuse and having protective actions taken. Efforts to identify these infants in a timely manner are critical to prevent repeated, escalating abuse and subsequent harm. Increasing the identification and evaluation of sentinel injuries has been highlighted as a strategy for improving timely detection of abuse in infants. Sentinel injuries are visible, minor, poorly explained injuries in young infants that raise concern for abuse. These injuries include cutaneous injuries such as bruising, subconjunctival hemorrhages and intra-oral injuries. Sentinel injuries can signal concurrent clinically occult but more serious injuries or precede more significant trauma from abuse. As such, sentinel injuries offer an opportunity to intervene and protect infants from further harm. A thorough physical exam is critical for detecting sentinel injuries. Imaging with skeletal survey and, when appropriate, neuroimaging are key components of the medical evaluation of sentinel injuries in these high-risk infants.</p>

DOI

10.1007/s00247-020-04915-7

Alternate Title

Pediatr Radiol

PMID

33999230

Title

Evaluation of the abdomen in the setting of suspected child abuse.

Year of Publication

2021

Date Published

2021 Mar 23

ISSN Number

1432-1998

Abstract

<p>Abusive intra-abdominal injuries are less common than other types of injuries, such as fractures and bruises, identified in victims of child physical abuse, but they can be deadly. No single abdominal injury is pathognomonic for abuse, but some types and constellations of intra-abdominal injuries are seen more frequently in abused children. Identification of intra-abdominal injuries can be important clinically or forensically. Injuries that do not significantly change clinical management can still elevate a clinician's level of concern for abuse and thereby influence subsequent decisions affecting child protection efforts. Abusive intra-abdominal injuries can be clinically occult, necessitating screening laboratory evaluations to inform decisions regarding imaging. Once detected, consideration of developmental abilities of the child, type and constellation of injuries, and the forces involved in any provided mechanism of trauma are necessary to inform assessments of plausibility of injury mechanisms and level of concern for abuse. Here we describe the clinical, laboratory and imaging evaluation of the abdomen in the setting of suspected child abuse.</p>

DOI

10.1007/s00247-020-04944-2

Alternate Title

Pediatr Radiol

PMID

33755750

Title

More data, more questions: No simple answer about which children should undergo screening neuroimaging for clinically occult abusive head trauma.

Year of Publication

2020

Number of Pages

104561

Date Published

2020 Jun 13

ISSN Number

1873-7757

Abstract

<p>Abusive head trauma (AHT) is the leading cause of fatal child physical abuse. Victims may initially present with clinically occult AHT without overt signs of head trauma or with only subtle, nonspecific symptoms, which can make timely recognition of AHT challenging. Research has shown missed opportunities for early detection of AHT in the medical setting are common and can lead to repeated injury. Neuroimaging is needed to diagnose clinically occult AHT but is not without risk. Researchers have worked to understand the yield of neuroimaging in detection of clinically occult AHT and to identify risk factors, yet findings have varied widely across studies. Identifying which children undergoing physical abuse evaluations are at highest risk of clinically occult AHT is key to development of evidence-based imaging decision support tools for clinicians. Here we discuss the recent literature, identify potential reasons for variation across studies, and offer opportunities for future research.</p>

DOI

10.1016/j.chiabu.2020.104561

Alternate Title

Child Abuse Negl

PMID

32544698

Title

Prevalence of Abuse and Additional Injury in Young Children With Rib Fractures as Their Presenting Injury.

Year of Publication

2020

Date Published

2020 Mar 19

ISSN Number

1535-1815

Abstract

<p><strong>OBJECTIVE: </strong>The primary objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of (a) additional injuries, (b) abuse as determined by a standardized scale, and (c) reports to child protective services (CPS) among children younger than 5 years in whom a rib fracture was the first presenting injury concerning for abuse.</p>

<p><strong>METHODS: </strong>A retrospective study of children younger than 5 years diagnosed with rib fractures at a tertiary pediatric hospital between 2007 and 2018 was performed. Children in motor vehicle crashes, hospitalized after birth, or with previously diagnosed metabolic bone disease were excluded. We included only those children whose rib fractures were the first presenting injury. Demographic and clinical information was abstracted from the records. Prevalence of additional injuries, a diagnosis of abuse, and a report to CPS were calculated. Associations between patient demographic and clinical characteristics and the outcomes of interest were examined.</p>

<p><strong>RESULTS: </strong>Of the 67 cases included, additional injuries concerning for abuse were identified in 40 (60%), and 58% were deemed likely or definite abuse. Reports to CPS were filed in 72% of cases. Posterior rib fractures, multiple rib fractures, and presence of rib fractures of multiple ages were all associated with presence of additional injuries and classification as definite or likely abuse (all P ≤ 0.05).</p>

<p><strong>CONCLUSIONS: </strong>The presence of a rib fracture in young children is associated with a high likelihood of additional concerning injuries and should prompt a thorough evaluation for child abuse.</p>

DOI

10.1097/PEC.0000000000002071

Alternate Title

Pediatr Emerg Care

PMID

32205804

Title

Occult head injuries in infants evaluated for physical abuse.

Year of Publication

2020

Number of Pages

104431

Date Published

2020 Mar 03

ISSN Number

1873-7757

Abstract

<p><strong>BACKGROUND: </strong>Abusive head injuries in infants may be occult but clinically or forensically important. Data conflict regarding yield of neuroimaging in detecting occult head injuries in infants evaluated for physical abuse, with prior studies identifying yields of 4.3-37.3 %.</p>

<p><strong>OBJECTIVES: </strong>(1) To quantify yield of computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging in identification of occult head injuries in infants with concerns for physical abuse and (2) to evaluate risk factors for occult head injuries.</p>

<p><strong>PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING: </strong>We conducted a retrospective, stratified, random systematic sample of 529 infants &lt;12 months evaluated for physical abuse at 4 urban children's hospitals in the United States from 2008-2012. Infants with signs or symptoms suggesting head injury or skull fracture on plain radiography (N = 359), and infants without neuroimaging (N = 1) were excluded.</p>

<p><strong>METHODS: </strong>Sampling weights were applied to calculate proportions of infants with occult head injuries. We evaluated for associations between hypothesized risk factors (age &lt;6 months, rib or extremity fracture, facial bruising) and occult head injury using chi-square tests.</p>

<p><strong>RESULTS: </strong>Of 169 neurologically normal infants evaluated for abuse, occult head injury was identified in 6.5 % (95 % CI: 2.6, 15.8). Infants &lt;6 months were at higher risk (9.7 %; 95 % CI: 3.6, 23.3) than infants 6-12 months (1.0 %; 95 % CI: 1.3, 20.2). Rib fracture, extremity fracture and facial bruising were not associated with occult head injury.</p>

<p><strong>CONCLUSIONS: </strong>Occult head injuries were less frequent than previously reported in some studies, but were identified in 1 in 10 infants &lt;6 months. Clinicians should have a low threshold to obtain neuroimaging in young infants with concern for abuse.</p>

DOI

10.1016/j.chiabu.2020.104431

Alternate Title

Child Abuse Negl

PMID

32143091

Title

Three-dimensional printed models of the rib cage in children with non-accidental injury as an effective visual-aid tool.

Year of Publication

2019

Date Published

2019 Mar 15

ISSN Number

1432-1998

Abstract

<p>Three-dimensional (3-D) printing is gaining terrain in medical education, presurgical evaluation and recently as forensic evidence in court. Physicians, including radiologists, often provide expert testimony in court cases involving children with rib fractures and other injuries concerning for child physical abuse. Effectively communicating the complexities of fractures and other skeletal findings to nonmedical personnel using standard radiology studies can be challenging, especially during medical courtroom testimony. For this reason, we printed two 3-D models of the rib cage from the chest computed tomography (CT) scans of two patients with suspected non-accidental injury. The patients also had available chest radiographs. The DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine) data were 3-D reconstructed and segmented using two attenuation thresholds. We removed unwanted structures and printed them on a commercially available scanner. A pediatric radiologist, blinded to clinical data, reviewed both 3-D models, identified all rib lesions and classified them according to their healing stage. We compared the 3-D models and the chest radiograph against the chest CT as the standard of care. We convened a meeting with the Child Protection Team at out institution to get their feedback and opinions about the models. From our observations of our experts, three spontaneous interactions were observed. Instinctively, the experts picked up and grasped the models, rotating them, feeling them and angling them to better visualize the fractures from multiple angles. The experts expressed a willingness to consider using the models in court.</p>

DOI

10.1007/s00247-019-04368-7

Alternate Title

Pediatr Radiol

PMID

30877337

Title

Use and Utility of Skeletal Surveys to Evaluate for Occult Fractures in Young Injured Children.

Year of Publication

2018

Date Published

2018 Aug 16

ISSN Number

1876-2867

Abstract

<p><strong>OBJECTIVES: </strong>To describe the percentage and characteristics of children &lt;24 months old with non-motor vehicle crash (non-MVC)-related injuries who 1) undergo a skeletal survey and 2) have occult fractures.</p>

<p><strong>METHODS: </strong>We performed a retrospective chart review of a stratified, systematic random sample of 1769 children &lt;24 months old with non-MVC-related bruises, burns, fractures, abdominal injuries, and head injuries at 4 children's hospitals from 2008-2012. Sampling weights were assigned to each child to allow for representative hospital-level population estimates. Logistic regression models tested for associations between patient characteristics with outcomes of skeletal survey completion and occult fracture identification.</p>

<p><strong>RESULTS: </strong>Skeletal surveys were performed in 46.3% of 0-5 month olds, 21.1% of 6-11 month olds, 8.0% of 12-17 month olds and 6.2% of 18-24 month olds. Skeletal surveys were most performed in children with traumatic brain injuries (64.7%) and rib fractures (100%) and least in burns (2.1%) and minor head injuries (4.4%). In adjusted analyses, increased age, private insurance and reported history of accidental trauma were associated with decreased skeletal survey use (all p≤0.001). The prevalence of occult fractures on skeletal survey ranged from 24.6% in infants 0-5 month olds to 3.6% in 18-24 month olds, and varied within age categories based on the presenting injury (p&lt;0.001).</p>

<p><strong>CONCLUSIONS: </strong>The high rate of occult fractures in infants 0-5 months old underscores the importance of increasing the use of skeletal surveys in this population. Further research is needed to identify the injury characteristics of older infants and toddlers most at risk for occult fractures.</p>

DOI

10.1016/j.acap.2018.08.007

Alternate Title

Acad Pediatr

PMID

30121318

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