Potential Impact of a Validated Screening Tool for Pediatric Abusive Head Trauma

on behalf of the, Pediatric Brain Injury Research Network (PediBIRN) Investigators, Pediatric Brain Injury Research Network (PediBIRN) Investigators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objective To conduct a retrospective, theoretical comparison of actual pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) screening for abusive head trauma (AHT) vs AHT screening guided by a previously validated 4-variable clinical prediction rule (CPR) in datasets used by the Pediatric Brain Injury Research Network to derive and validate the CPR. Study design We calculated CPR-based estimates of abuse probability for all 500 patients in the datasets. Next, we demonstrated a positive and very strong correlation between these estimates of abuse probability and the overall diagnostic yields of our patients’ completed skeletal surveys and retinal examinations. Having demonstrated this correlation, we applied mean estimates of abuse probability to predict additional, positive abuse evaluations among patients lacking skeletal survey and/or retinal examination. Finally, we used these predictions of additional, positive abuse evaluations to extrapolate and compare AHT detection (and 2 other measures of AHT screening accuracy) in actual PICU screening for AHT vs AHT screening guided by the CPR. Results Our results suggest that AHT screening guided by the CPR could theoretically increase AHT detection in PICU settings from 87%-96% (P <.001), and increase the overall diagnostic yield of completed abuse evaluations from 49%-56% (P =.058), while targeting slightly fewer, though not significantly less, children for abuse evaluation. Conclusions Applied accurately and consistently, the recently validated, 4-variable CPR could theoretically improve the accuracy of AHT screening in PICU settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1375-1381.e1
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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