Management of Isolated Skull Fractures in Pediatric Patients: A Systematic Review.

Published on Apr 1, 2019in Pediatric Emergency Care1.17
· DOI :10.1097/PEC.0000000000001814
Katelyn Donaldson3
Estimated H-index: 3
Xun Li1
Estimated H-index: 1
+ 2 AuthorsSusan R. Durham20
Estimated H-index: 20
(UVM: University of Vermont)
OBJECTIVES: Isolated skull fractures (ISFs) in children are one of the most common emergency department injuries. Recent studies suggest these children may be safely discharged following ED evaluation with little risk of delayed neurological compromise. The aim of this study was to propose an evidence-based protocol for the management of ISF in children in an effort to reduce medically unnecessary hospital admissions. METHODS: Using PubMed and The Cochrane Library databases, a literature search using the search terms (pediatric OR child) AND skull fracture AND (isolated OR linear) was performed. Three hundred forty-three abstracts were identified and screened based on the inclusion criteria: (1) linear, nondepressed ISF; (2) no evidence of intracranial injury; (3) age 18 years or younger; and (4) data on patient outcomes and management. Data including age, Glasgow Coma Scale score on arrival, repeat imaging, admission rates, need for neurosurgical intervention, and patient outcome were collected. Two authors reviewed each study for data extraction and quality assessment. RESULTS: Fourteen articles met the eligibility criteria. Data including admission rates, outcomes, and necessity of neurosurgical intervention were analyzed. Admission rates ranged from 56.8% to 100%; however, only 8 of more than 5000 patients developed new imaging findings after admission, all of which were nonsurgical. Only 1 patient required neurosurgical intervention for a finding evident upon initial evaluation. CONCLUSIONS: Pediatric ISF patients with a presenting Glasgow Coma Scale score of 15 who are neurologically intact and tolerating feeds without concern for nonaccidental trauma or an unstable social environment can safely be discharged following ED evaluation to a responsible caregiver.
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