Severe cranial neuropathies caused by falls from heights in children

A. Zahavi, J. Luckman, I. Yassur, S. Michowiz, N. Goldenberg-Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Falls from heights are the most common traumatic event associated with emergency department visits in children. This study investigated the incidence and clinical course of cranial neuropathies caused by falls from heights in children. Methods: The computerized records of a tertiary pediatric medical center were searched for all patients admitted to the emergency department in 2004–2014 with a head injury caused by falling from a height. Those with cranial neuropathies involving optic and eye-motility disturbances were identified, and their clinical, imaging, and outcome data were evaluated. Results: Of the estimated 61,968 patients who presented to the emergency department during the study period because of a fall, 18,758 (30.3 %) had head trauma. Only 12 (seven boys, five girls, average age 6.7 years) had a visual disturbance. Eight were diagnosed with traumatic optic neuropathy, one after a 6-month delay, including two with accompanying cranial nerve (CN) III injuries. Five patients had anisocoria or an abnormal pupillary response to light at presentation, one patient had CN VI paralysis and temporary vision loss, and one patient had an isolated CN III injury diagnosed on follow-up. Visual improvement varied among the patients. Conclusion: Cranial neuropathies due to falls from heights are rare in children and are associated with high visual morbidity. Vision or ocular motility impairment, especially monocular vision loss, may be missed during acute intake to the emergency department, and a high index of suspicion is needed. Assessment of the pupillary response to light is essential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)765-772
Number of pages8
JournalGraefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
Volume254
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2016

Keywords

  • Cranial neuropathies
  • Fall
  • Pediatric head trauma
  • Trauma
  • Traumatic optic neuropathy

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