Understanding the Five-Year Outcomes of Abusive Head Trauma in Children: a Retrospective Cohort Study

Jaimi Manfield, Karen Oakley, Julie Anne Macey, Mary Clare Waugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the long-term medical and developmental outcomes for children who survive abusive head trauma (AHT) is important to ensure necessary supports and services are available. This study examined the retrospective global and specific medical and developmental outcomes of 55 children with AHT who were treated at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. Global outcomes were assessed using the Kings Outcome Scale of Childhood Head Injury (KOSCHI). Five years post-injury, one child had died and two had made a complete recovery. Forty-five children (81.8%) had a moderate or severe disability, an increase from 64.5% at acute discharge. At follow-up, the main impairments were behavioral problems (53%), vision impairment (44%), fine motor difficulties (26%), gross motor problems (26%), communication problems (24%) and 16% had seizures. A Spearman’s Rank correlation revealed that only 41% of variance in KOSCHI scores five years post-injury could be accounted for KOSCHI scores at the time of acute discharge (rs(55) = 0.638, p < .001), and many children’s presentation was worse at follow-up. Therefore, all children presenting with AHT need long term follow up regardless of early indications of good recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-367
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopmental Neurorehabilitation
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


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