Severe retinal hemorrhaging is linked to severe motor vehicle crashes

Jun 23, 2008

The severity of retinal hemorrhaging for young children in motor vehicle crashes is closely correlated to the severity of the crash, according to a new study by researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Retinal hemorrhages occur when the blood vessels lining the retina rupture, resulting in bleeding onto the surface of the retina.

The study, by Jane Kivlin, M.D., and Kenneth Simons, M.D., professors of ophthalmology at the Medical College, is published in the June issue of Archives of Ophthalmology.

"The severity of the retinal injuries is similar to that seen in nonaccidental childhood neurotrauma, or shaken baby syndrome," according to Dr. Kivlin, a pediatric ophthalmologist and lead author, who sees patients at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. "Many perpetrators of shaken baby syndrome have confessed to violently shaking the child, subjecting the child to severe rotational force."

The retrospective study examined ten cases of children younger than three years taken from autopsies performed by the Milwaukee County medical examiner from January 1, 1994, to December 31, 2002. All patients died in motor vehicle crashes as passengers or pedestrians. They were subjected to extremely severe forces involving rapid deceleration with a rotational, or whiplash-like, component.

For each case, all available medical and autopsy records, including pathology slides, photographs, and police and traffic department records, were reviewed. All patients suffered severe head injuries in the accidents. Skull fractures were found in all but three patients. In six patients, improper restraints and direct blows were found to contribute to their injuries.

"These were all extremely high-force injury mechanisms that far exceed those involved in common or even uncommon household accidents," says Dr. Kivlin.

Of the ten cases, extensive retinal hemorrhages were found in eight patients, similar to the severe hemorrhages seen in shaken baby syndrome. Two patients had no signs of retinal hemorrhaging, but nine of the ten patients were found to have optic nerve sheath hemorrhages, which are also commonly found in shaken babies.

"Hemorrhages of this degree have rarely been reported in accidental trauma, even with skull fractures. But most of the reported patients did not die of their trauma. So we conclude that severe hemorrhages reflect severe trauma," says Dr. Kivlin.

"The association of extensive, sometimes severe, ocular hemorrhages with fatal accidental trauma, compared with previous reports of accidental trauma with no or few hemorrhages, indicates the severity of injury required to cause hemorrhages of this magnitude."

Source: Medical College of Wisconsin

Explore further: Canada pledges $440 million to vaccinate poor children

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Form Devices team designs Point as a house sitter

11 hours ago

A Scandinavian team "with an international outlook" and good eye for electronics, software and design aims to reach success with what they characterize as "a softer take" on home security. Their device is ...

Man pleads guilty in New York cybercrime case

14 hours ago

A California man has pleaded guilty in New York City for his role marketing malware that federal authorities say infected more than a half-million computers worldwide.

NASA issues 'remastered' view of Jupiter's moon Europa

23 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Scientists have produced a new version of what is perhaps NASA's best view of Jupiter's ice-covered moon, Europa. The mosaic of color images was obtained in the late 1990s by NASA's Galileo ...

Dish restores Turner channels to lineup

23 hours ago

Turner Broadcasting channels such as Cartoon Network and CNN are back on the Dish network after being dropped from the satellite TV provider's lineup during contract talks.

Recommended for you

Health care organizations see value of telemedicine

Nov 27, 2014

(HealthDay)—Health care organizations are developing and implementing telemedicine programs, although many have yet to receive reimbursement, according to a report published by Foley & Lardner.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.