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Specialists recommend Sono of the spinal canal if shaking trauma is suspected
The German Society for Ultrasound in Medicine (DEGUM) recommends sonography of the spinal canal if shaking trauma is suspected. Every year between 100 and 200 infants die in Germany alone from the consequences of a so-called shaking trauma.
What is a shaking trauma? A shaking trauma occurs when a crying baby is shaken deliberately, quickly and violently. The medical examination often shows subdural hematomas, retinal bleeding, fractures, for example of the ribs and upper arms, and diffuse brain damage. The occurrence of accidents, accidentally excessive playing or medical treatment can be excluded in such cases.
The consequences of a shaking trauma can include severe disabilities and even the death of the baby. Axel Feldkamp, senior consultant at the Clinic for Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine at the Duisburg Clinic and Head of the Pediatric Section of DEGUM reports: "If the small head swings a lot due to the shaking, subdural hematomas quickly form." Shaking trauma is one of the most common forms child abuse and is usually perpetrated by caregivers such as parents, grandparents or the babysitter.
Ultrasound penetrates the fine cartilage of babies A study by the University of Innsbruck recently showed that bruises around the baby's spinal cord can also indicate shaking trauma. The team led by Ingmar Gassner first examined the brains of affected children using ultrasound, and found bruises there. He then performed spinal cord sonography and also found bruises there.
In babies, the vertebral arches that protect the spinal canal with the spinal cord still largely consist of cartilage. Ultrasound waves can penetrate them differently than in adults and make bruises visible. "Their joint appearance around the brain and spinal cord can substantiate the suspicion of a shaking trauma," reports Ingmar Gassner and advises doctors to use the ultrasound examination of the brain and spinal cord if suspected of shaking trauma.
Parents need help A violent shaking of infants and babies usually happens when the parents are overwhelmed. If babies cry a lot and cannot be comforted for days or weeks, parents are often overwhelmed and sometimes at the end of their strength. Instead of going beyond their own limits, those affected should visit the “screaming clinic”, as the pedagogue Sebastian Bertram from Hanover advises. “In every city, outpatient clinics are mostly installed in children's clinics. In addition to the physical examination of the child, parents can get support and assistance ”. The study was published in the journal "Ultrasound in Medicine". (ag, sb)
Image: Sabrina Gonstalla / pixelio.de