Fetal closed head injuries following maternal motor vehicle accident: A clinicopathologic case report

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Rationale:The clinicopathologic appearance of fetal closed head injury (FCHI) due to a maternal motor vehicle accident has not been fully investigated because of its extreme rarity.Patients concern:A 22-year-old woman at 31 weeks of gestation was riding in the front passenger seat of a car, and another rightward-turning car struck the right side of her vehicle.Diagnosis:Uterine injury with placental abruption was strongly suspected.Intervention:A live female infant in breech presentation was delivered by emergency caesarean section.Outcomes:Although the female infant was and showed no evidence of trauma on her body surface. She exhibited a convulsion on the day of birth, and subsequent ultrasonography revealed possible intracranial hemorrhage. Although laboratory parameters associated with circulatory and respiratory function suggested a good response to the intensive care administered during the treatment course, the infant died 6 days later despite intensive care. Autopsy showed severe brain softening, subarachnoid hemorrhage with cerebral and cerebellar contusion, and bilateral thalamic hemorrhage. No hypoxic/ischemic changes of the thoracoabdominal organs were evident at autopsy.Lessons:This was a clear case of FCHI by both shear and tensile forces. Multiple factors including the structural vulnerability of the fetal brain, the head posture of the fetus, the crash location and direction of force on the vehicle, and the employment of safety equipment may have contributed to the occurrence of FCHI in the present case.

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