Neurological recovery in obstetric brachial plexus injuries: an historical cohort study

Authors


first author at Jan van Breemen Institute, Dr Jan van Breemenstraat 2, 1056 AB Amsterdam, the Netherlands. E-mail: a.f.hoeksma@worldonline.nl

Abstract

An historical cohort study was conducted to investigate the rate and extent of neurological recovery in obstetric brachial plexus injury (OBPI) and to identify possible prognostic factors in a cohort of children with OBPI from birth to 7 years. All children (n=56; 31 females, 25 males) with OBPI were evaluated at fixed time intervals by one examiner. They underwent a final neurological examination at a mean age of 3 years 10 months (range 1 to 7 years). Neurological outcome was not as favourable as is often reported: complete neurological recovery occurred in 37 out of 56 children (66%). In half of these there was delayed recovery, in which case complete neurological recovery was assessed from 1.5 to 16 months of age (median age 6.5 months, SD 4.2 months). External rotation and supination were the last to recover and recovered the least. Although biceps function at three months was considered to be the best indicator for operative treatment, external rotation and supination were found to be better in predicting eventual complete recovery. Initial symptoms directly post partum were not found to be prognostic. Functional outcome was mainly reported to be good.

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