Radiological Imaging in Infant Non-Accidental Injury

Matthew Marshall


In the UK, seven percent of children will have experienced serious physical abuse from their primary carers at some point during their childhood (1). Appropriate and effective imaging techniques can drastically improve diagnosis of resultant non-accidental injury (NAI) from child abuse. This includes suitable imaging modality choice and techniques set out by expert opinion and clinical guidelines, such as the standards for radiological investigations of suspected non-accidental injury produced by the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) in collaboration with the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) (1). There are certain markers that are almost diagnostic of NAI, for example classic metaphyseal lesions or subdural and retinal haemorrhage with encephalopathy. Effective evaluation of these findings by a capable radiologist will lead to accurate and efficient diagnosis and management. Furthermore, an awareness of potential radiological mimics of NAI is vital for appropriate diagnosis. If this is achieved successfully, radiologists and other members of the multidisciplinary healthcare team can have a direct, positive impact on effective management of these sensitive cases.

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