Pediatric Head Trauma Differential Diagnoses

Updated: Apr 12, 2023
  • Author: Michael J Verive, MD, FAAP; Chief Editor: Muhammad Waseem, MBBS, MS, FAAP, FACEP, FAHA  more...
  • Print

Diagnostic Considerations

The following diagnostic pitfalls are associated with head trauma:

  • Failure to recognize or suspect child abuse: One study suggests that certain combinations of clinical features may be suggestive of abusive head trauma, though a larger-scale prospective study would be required to develop a more refined tool [32]

  • Failure to recognize associated life-threatening injuries

  • Failure to recognize severe head injury that may initially seem less serious in a patient with multiple trauma: An example is the Waddell triad for a child pedestrian hit by a motor vehicle, which involves chest-abdomen trauma, leg injury, and a countercoup head injury

Differential Diagnoses