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Respiratory distress in a one-month-old child suffering brachial plexus palsy


  • Conflict of interest: None declared.

Dr Odile Héritier, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Rue du Bugnon 46, 1011 Lausanne-Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Switzerland. Fax: 0041 21 314 37 59; email:


This paper describes a one-month-old girl presenting with respiratory and growth failure due to diaphragmatic paralysis associated with left brachial plexus palsy after forceps delivery. Despite continuous positive pressure ventilation and nasogastric feeding, the situation did not improve and a laparoscopic diaphragmatic plication had to be performed. When dealing with a child born with brachial plexus palsy, one must think of this possible association and if necessary proceed to the complementary radiological examinations. The treatment must avoid complications like feeding difficulties and failure to thrive, respiratory infections or atelectasis. It includes intensive support and a good evaluation of the prognosis of the lesion to decide the best moment for a surgical therapy.