Author(s): Ubachs JM, Slooff AC, Peeters LL
Abstract Share this page
Abstract OBJECTIVE: To determine whether the anatomy of an obstetric brachial plexus lesion (OBPL) is causally related to the preceding obstetric history. DESIGN: Anatomical classification of the OBPL during reconstructive neurosurgical treatment in consecutive infants who had surgery for OBPL between 1986 and 1994 and relating these findings with the characteristics of the preceding birth. SETTING: De Wever Hospital, Heerlen, The Netherlands. SUBJECTS: All infants who had surgical treatment for OBPL between 1 April 1986 and 1 January 1994 (n = 130). RESULTS: An Erb's C5-C6 injury was preceded more frequently by a difficult breech birth (19/26 cases or 73\%). In contrast, the more extensive forms of Erb's palsy classified as a C5-C7 injury or a total palsy with a C5-T1 injury were observed more frequently after complicated cephalic birth (52/59 or 88\%, and 43/45 or 96\%, respectively). The extent of anatomical damage as expressed by the incidence of an avulsion of one or more spinal nerves was 18/26 (69\%) in Erb C5-C6, 13/59 (22\%) in Erb C5-C7 and 21/45 (47\%) in total C5-T1 palsy. CONCLUSION: The Erb's C5-C6 palsy, occasionally bilateral and/or complicated by phrenic nerve injury, was the most frequent form of OBPL after a breech birth. The more extensive form of Erb's palsy and the total palsy were observed more frequently after delivery in a cephalic presentation. The pure form of Erb's palsy and the total palsy were characterised by a higher incidence of nerve avulsions than the extensive form of Erb's palsy.
This article was published in Br J Obstet Gynaecol
and referenced in Journal of Womens Health Care