A comparison of shoulder dystocia-associated transient and permanent brachial plexus palsies

Robert B. Gherman, Joseph G. Ouzounian, Andrew J. Satin, T. Murphy Goodwin, Jeffrey P. Phelan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To estimate differences between shoulder dystocia-associated transient and permanent brachial plexus palsies. METHODS: We performed a retrospective case-control analysis from national birth injury and shoulder dystocia databases. Study patients had permanent brachial plexus palsy and had been entered into a national birth injury registry. Cases of Erb or Klumpke palsy with documented neonatal neuromuscular deficits persisting beyond at least 1 year of life were classified as permanent. Cases of transient brachial plexus palsy were obtained from a shoulder dystocia database. Non-shoulder dystocia-related cases of brachial plexus palsy were excluded from analysis. Cases of permanent brachial plexus palsy (n = 49) were matched 1:1 with cases of transient brachial plexus palsy. RESULTS: Transient brachial plexus palsy cases had a higher incidence of diabetes mellitus than those with permanent brachial plexus palsy (34.7% versus 10.2%, odds ratio [OR] 4.68, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.42, 16.32). Patients with permanent brachial plexus palsies had a higher mean birth weight (4519 ± 94.3 g versus 4143.6 ± 56.5 g, P < .001) and a greater frequency of birth weight greater than 4500 grams (38.8% versus 16.3%, OR, 0.31, 95% CI 0.11, 0.87). There were, however, no statistically significant differences between the two groups with respect to multiple antepartum, intrapartum, and delivery outcome measures. CONCLUSION: Transient and permanent brachial plexus palsies are not associated with significant differences for most antepartum and intrapartum characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)544-548
Number of pages5
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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