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Non Accidental Head Injury Cases (NAHI, formerly referred to as Shaken Baby Syndrome [SBS]) - Prosecution Approach

Published: 6 January 2011

Annex F: Subdural haemorrhage in the neonatal period

  • The recent application of modern diagnostic imaging techniques to examine the heads of normal newborn babies shows that small subdural haemorrhages can be seen in a significant proportion, perhaps one-third to a half. Fundoscopy shows that superficial retinal haemorrhages may also be present.
  • These findings probably reflect the trauma of childbirth when the relatively large head of the human baby is propelled through the birth canal.
  • These haemorrhages are trivial; they are not associated with clinical effects and disappear by the age of one month. These characteristics and the age of the child are clearly distinct from haemorrhages occurring as a result of trauma in an older baby.

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