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Hyponatremic seizures in infancy: Association with retinal hemorrhages and physical child abuse?

KRUGMAN, SCOTT D. MD; ZORC, JOSEPH J. MD; WALKER, ALLEN R. MD

Illustrative Cases

We present two cases of infants with hyponatremic seizures who had an unexpected finding of retinal hemorrhages. A review of the literature found no prior association between hyponatremic seizures and retinal hemorrhages. The retinal hemorrhages found in the first patient were a result of shaken baby syndrome (SBS) and associated with long bone fractures and a subdural hematoma. The second patient had retinal hemorrhages and cerebral edema, presumed to be a result of SBS. We suggest that children who become hyponatremic owing to neglect, lack of education, or intentional water poisoning may be at risk for other forms of child abuse. Additional research needs to be done to further elucidate the relationship between hyponatremic seizures and child abuse.

From the Department of Pediatrics, Franklin Square Hospital Center, Baltimore, Maryland (S.D. Krugman), the Division of Emergency Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (J.J. Zone), and the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland (A.R. Walker).

Address for reprints: S.D. Krugman, MD, Franklin Square Hospital Center, Department of Pediatrics, 9000 Franklin Square Drive, Baltimore, MD 21237.

© 2000 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.