Physical Abuse Series:
Abusive Head Trauma

Infants and children who are eventually diagnosed with abusive head trauma may present clinically in a variety of ways, ranging from no symptoms to fatality or near-fatality. In the Physical Abuse Series: Abusive Head Trauma e-learning module you will learn about the most common findings in Abusive Head Trauma, how to recognize it from historical and physical findings, the mechanisms and timing of injuries, and how to distinguish it from other forms of head injury.

Clinical Prediction Rules, as well as guidance for screening, history, and examination, including imaging studies and laboratory evaluation help you apply this knowledge to your clinical practice. Actual first responder bodycam videos and parent confessions provide a one-of-a-kind opportunity to assess medical history and misleading histories.

Extending from Physical Abuse Series: Core Framework which outlines “when to worry," this module encourages the learner to “think common, remember rare" in carefully considering the differential diagnosis. Used together with other modules from the Physical Abuse Series, they provide a valuable resource for frontline providers and child abuse specialists alike.

The module combines narrative descriptions and case studies to promote critical thinking in clinical practice. After working through the module, the case-based approach to learning facilitates the transfer of knowledge to clinical practice and serves as an accessible reference tool in clinical settings.

Learning Objectives

  • Define abusive head trauma.
  • Define mechanisms of injury in AHT.
  • Recall cardinal features of AHT.
  • Apply clinical prediction rules to determine if a patient has AHT.

Developed in partnership with:
  • Kirsten Bechtel, MD
  • Gunjan Tiyyagura, MD
  • Ammarah Iqbal, MD
  • Lora Spiller, MD
  • Anthony Zarka, DO
  • Nancy Kellogg, MD, Senior Medical Editor


Authors, Contributors, and Reviewers