Epidemiology of subdural haemorrhage during infancy: A population-based register study

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OBJECTIVES: To analyse subdural haemorrhage (SDH) during infancy in Sweden by incidence, SDH category, diagnostic distribution, age, co-morbidity, mortality, and maternal and perinatal risk factors; and its association with accidents and diagnosis of abuse.

METHODS: A Swedish population-based register study comprising infants born between 1997 and 2014, 0-1 years of age, diagnosed with SDH-diagnoses according to the (International Classification of Diseases, 10th version (ICD10), retrieved from the National Patient Register and linked to the Medical Birth Register and the Death Cause Register. Outcome measures were: 1) Incidence and distribution, 2) co-morbidity, 3) fall accidents by SDH category, 4) risk factors for all SDHs in the two age groups, 0-6 and 7-365 days, and for ICD10 SDH subgroups: S06.5 (traumatic SDH), I62.0 (acute nontraumatic), SDH and abuse diagnosis.

RESULTS: Incidence of SDH was 16·5 per 100 000 infants (n = 306). Median age was 2·5 months. For infants older than one week, the median age was 3·5 months. Case fatality was 6·5%. Male sex was overrepresented for all SDH subgroups. Accidental falls were reported in 1/3 of the cases. One-fourth occurred within 0-6 days, having a perinatal risk profile. For infants aged 7-365 days, acute nontraumatic SDH was associated with multiple birth, preterm birth, and small-for-gestational age. Fourteen percent also had an abuse diagnosis, having increased odds of being born preterm, and being small-for-gestational age.

CONCLUSIONS: The incidence was in the range previously reported. SDH among newborns was associated with difficult birth and neonatal morbidity. Acute nontraumatic SDH and SDH with abuse diagnosis had similar perinatal risk profiles. The increased odds for acute nontraumatic SDH in twins, preterm births, neonatal convulsions or small-for-gestational age indicate a perinatal vulnerability for SDH beyond 1st week of life. The association between prematurity/small-for-gestational age and abuse diagnosis is intriguing and not easily understood.


  • Ulf Högberg
  • Jacob Andersson
  • Waney Squier
  • Göran Högberg
  • Vineta Fellman
  • Ingemar Thiblin
  • Knut Wester
Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • Uppsala universitet
  • John Radcliffe Hospital
  • Karolinska Institute
  • University of Helsinki
  • University of Bergen

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Pediatrik
TidskriftPLoS ONE
Utgåva nummer10
StatusPublished - 2018
Peer review utfördJa