shaken-baby syndrome

Also found in: Dictionary.
Related to shaken-baby syndrome: Shaken impact baby syndrome

shaken-baby syndrome

A syndrome seen in abused infants and children, sometimes referred to as “shaken impact syndrome” because of the accompanying impact injuries to the head. The patient has been subjected to violent, whiplash-type shaking injuries inflicted by an abuser. This may cause coma, convulsions, and increased intracranial pressure, resulting from tearing of the cerebral veins, with consequent bleeding into the subdural space. Retinal hemorrhages and bruises on the arms or trunk where the patient was forcefully grabbed are usually present.


About 50,000 cases are reported each year in the U.S. This number probably represents under-reporting.


The presence of retinal hemorrhage, cerebral edema, and subdural hematoma—either individually or in any combination—strongly suggests the diagnosis in the absence of other explanations for the trauma. Radiological imaging is used to identify the specific sites of injury.


The prognosis for affected infants and children is extremely guarded. Only about 15% to 20% of them recover without sequelae, such as vision and hearing impairments, seizure disorders, cerebral palsy, and developmental disorders requiring ongoing medical, educational, and behavioral management. See: battered child syndrome; abuse, child


In domestic situations in which a child is abused, it is important to examine other children and infants living in the same home because about 20% of these children will have signs of physical abuse as well. That examination should be done without delay, to prevent further abuse.
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners
References in periodicals archive ?
The tenure saw her turn coverage to children's issues, such as the ongoing investigative series focusing on shaken-baby syndrome. Also during her reign was the publication of a series that questioned if the Akron Police Department had properly investigated allegations that then-Chief Edward Irvine physically abused his wife.
Leach led work on children's issues at the 135,000-circulation paper, such as a series of investigations into shaken-baby syndrome.
Fifteen-month-old Emily died from 'shaken-baby syndrome' at her home in Rochester, Kent, on December 18 last year.
The foundation, based in Illinois, was established to educate the public about child abuse - particularly shaken-baby syndrome - and provide support to families of victims.