Tip 14: brachial plexus injury

All babies with suspected brachial plexus injury should be examined for posture, movements, reflexes, chest movements, Horner’s syndrome, and fractures of clavicle / humerus.

Any abnormalities should prompt a CXR, urgent referral to physiotherapy and neonatal follow-up within 2 weeks. 

Complete resolution at 6 months of age: only 65% for Erb’s palsy and <10% for total palsy +/- Horner’s syndrome.

Reference: Foad SL. Prognosis following neonatal brachial plexus palsy: An evidence-based review. J Child Orthop, 2009; 3: 459–463.

First published: 16/10/13

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