Fetal gunshot brain injury leading to late postnatal hydrocephalus

A male fetus was delivered by emergent caesarean section after a term pregnant mother was caught in crossfire and sustained gunshot injury to her abdomen. Examination of the infant was unremarkable except for a small laceration of the scalp at the anterior fontanelle. Skull radiography showed a dense bullet shaped opacity in the brain. He was managed conservatively and was discharged home on full feeds with normal neurological examination. He developed seizures and progressive hydrocephalus, and underwent a ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt placement at 5 weeks of age. At 13 months of age the bullet was removed. To our knowledge this is the first report of fetal brain injury with intact bullet in the brain with survival. This case provides the context for a discussion about factors that contribute to survival and favorable prognosis of infants with fetal penetrating gunshot brain injury.

*Corresponding Author: 

Tai Pham, MD, General Medical Education, Valley Children’s Hospital, 9300 Valley Children’s, Place FE21, Madera, CA 93636, USA. Tel.: +1 408 991 5658; Fax: +1 559 353 5318; E-mail:tpham4@valleychildrens.org.