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Shaken Baby Syndrome

Also known as SBS, shaken baby syndrome is a type of imposed head trauma. This trauma may occur from either throwing the child, or hitting the child on the head or by shaking the child too much. This is unlike regular head injuries because it can happen only if somebody harms the child. Many parents bring their children to the doctor very late, as they have not observed the problem in the infant in an early stage. SBS can also lead to severe brain injury, thus parents who leave their children with caretakers have to be on extra vigil for unusual symptoms. Depending on the duration of the harm caused the symptoms vary.


  • Lassitude and nausea and petulance are the main symptoms.
  • Poor sucking, decline in appetite and lack of smile.
  • Breathing trouble and seizures.
  • Unable to lift the head and to center the eyes or follow movement.
  • Pupil sizes may vary and stiffness will occur.

When the baby is shaken continuously, the head rotates in frenzy as the infant neck muscles are hardly developed and offer very little support to the head. The movement causes the brain to move back and forth inside the skull and thereby causes injury to the nerves and blood vessels and also tears off the brain tissue. As the brain hits against the inside of the skull, damage is caused to brain in the form of bruising and bleeding. If the baby's head is hit against any hard object, then the damage caused is even worse. With less damage caused the injury will heal within a period of time. If the damage caused is severe, then specific treatment has to be provided depending on the area of damage. Speech loss and hearing impairment has to be treated accordingly. The child has to be given special care and kept under constant vigil under the right care for the right kind of support.

Subdural Hematomae

Collection of blood on the surface of the brain is termed as subdural hematoma. This condition occurs from the tear of the vein that crosses the subdural space. The general cause for subdural hematoma is severe head injury and is also referred to as acute subdural hematoma in severe conditions. It is considered the most dangerous among all head injuries. The bleeding is quick and severe and fills up the entire area of the brain within seconds thus leaving barely any space for the brain. Subdural hematoma occurs even in minor head injuries and is more prominent in elders and is termed as chronic subdural hematoma. The small veins flanked by the surface of the brain and the outward covering stretch and tear and as a result blood gets collected. This condition at times may be overlooked. There are few types of subdural hematoma that occur without any reason.


  • Any recent head injury and getting unconscious after a head injury.
  • Acute headache
  • Distorted speech and at times loss of speech and loss of memory in few patients.
  • Nausea and vomiting and seizures
  • Weakness and lack of sensation accompanied by lethargy.
  • In infants, the fontanels will bulge out and there will be an increase in the circumference of the head accompanied by high-pitched crying.

With the help of a CT scan or a MRI scan, the doctor will be able to confirm the extent of the damage. This is an emergency situation and needs immediate monitoring and surgery. This surgery will help reduce the pressure exerted on the brain by the bleeding. Doctors generally drill a hole in the brain and allow the hematoma to drain. Depending on the size of the hematoma, doctors decide on the type of surgery required.


  • Wear protective gear for the head while working in high raised structures.
  • Wear helmet when traveling on two wheelers.
  • Wear your seat belt while driving; this will help reduce the impact of any head injury during accidents.

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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: November 22, 2019