Isolated extradural hematoma (EDH) is becoming more frequently recognized in emergency departments (EDs) in children.
We describe the natural history of children with isolated EDH presenting to a large Children's Hospital ED.
This is a descriptive case series study using a retrospective review of the medical records of children presenting to the ED with a diagnosis of isolated EDH over 8 years.
Comparison was made with children having other injuries in addition to EDH. The cause, nature of injury, presentations to hospital, management, outcome, and any association with nonaccidental injuries (NAI) were analyzed.
Of the 35 cases with a final diagnosis of isolated EDH initially presenting to the ED, 70% were over 3 years of age (mean 6.6 years), and 60% were boys. A fall of less than half a meter was the cause of isolated EDH in 51.4% of patients.
The remaining cases resulted from a fall from a height greater than half a meter (17.1%), a motor vehicle accident (11.4%), being hit by an object (8.6%), a bicycle accident (5.7%), and a skateboard accident (5.7%). Children younger than 3 years presented within 24 hours of injury in 70% of cases, compared with 65% of older children.
In 95% of cases, presentation was nonspecific, suggesting a medical rather than a surgical problem.
This resulted in a delay in seeking emergency care and a delay in final diagnosis for these patients.
Surgical drainage was required in 68.6% of cases, with older children being more likely to be managed conservatively.
In 23.4% of cases, minor residual neurologic deficit occurred; there were no cases of serious long-term problems.
There were no cases of NAI in the children studied.
This report highlights falls as a common cause of isolated EDH in children.
Delay in presentation for clinical assessment is common, because many children have nonspecific presentation that is suggestive of a medical problem.
No cases of NAI were reported in this study.
Pediatric Emergency Care
Department of Emergency Medicine, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children, New South Wales, Australia. GaryB [at] chw.edu.au
Pediatr Emerg Care. 2002 Apr;18(2):86-90
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