Head injuries in children under 36 months of age - Demography and outcome

Yoon S. Hahn*, Chiehong Chyung, Martha J. Barthel, Julian Bailes, Ann M. Flannery, David G. McLone

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


Head injuries in children under the age of 3 years have not been extensively studied, due in part to the lack of an objective tool for neurological assessment. We have developed a Children's Coma Scale (CCS) by modifying the verbal response subscore of the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) to overcome this limitation. When applied prospectively to children under 3 years of age, we found the CCS to be useful in predicting outcome. During the 5-year study period from 1981 to 1985, there were 738 patients with head injuries (0-16 years) admitted to the Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, including 318 (43.1%) less than 3 years of age. Initial data demonstrated the following observations. The most common mechanism of injury was a fall (75.5%). Although a brief loss of consciousness (LOC) was reported in three-fourths of the patients, prolonged LOC of more than 6 h was uncommon (16/318, 5.0%). The classically described "lucid interval" was seen in only 7 children (2.2%) and was not a reliable indicator of epidural hematoma. Post-traumatic seizures developed more commonly in children under 2 years of age (15.7%) than in older children (11.6% under 3 years of age, 9.6%, entire group), (P<0.001). Oculovestibular reflex and bilateral fixed dilated pupils had the most reliable correlation with outcome. Other brain-stem reflexes were less useful. Intracranial pressure greater than 40 torr in children with CCS scores of 3, 4 or 5 was inevitably fatal; however, 10 of 16 children with ICP less than 40 torr showed a good outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-39
Number of pages6
JournalChild's Nervous System
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1988


  • Brain-stem reflex
  • Children's Coma Scale
  • Demography
  • Intracranial pressure
  • Outcome predictor
  • Post-traumatic seizure
  • Subdural hematoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Head injuries in children under 36 months of age - Demography and outcome'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this