Head Trauma with Headache

March 6, 2018 by: Pediatrics for Parents staff Article Tags: ,

The Question: What is the risk of traumatic brain injury after a minor head injury?

The Study: The records of 27,405 children 2 to 18 years old who were seen for head trauma. The researchers analyzed the records for symptoms associated with head trauma such as headache, memory problems and other neurological symptoms.

The Results: Headaches occurred in 46% of the children. A headache was the only symptom in 20% of the children who complained of a headache. Of these children, none with an isolated headache were diagnosed with clinically important brain trauma compared to 1.6% of the children with a headache and other neurological symptoms. CAT scan studies showed brain injury in three of the 456 (0.7%) children with an isolated headache compared to 271 or the 6,089 (4.5%) of the children with a headache and other symptoms. There was no relationship between either headache location or severity and risk of a clinically significant brain trauma or CAT scan abnormality.

Comment: This study should reassure parents a headache as the only symptom after minor blunt trauma to a child’s head doesn’t mean the child has a serious injury. A physician should evaluate all significant blunt head trauma, especially if the child has neurological symptoms other than a headache.

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