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J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2000 Mar-Apr;9(2):99-103.

Parsonage-Turner syndrome in the Native American Indian.

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  • 1Northern New Mexico Orthopaedic Center, USA.


Neurologic causes are important to consider when patients with new-onset shoulder pain are evaluated. Parsonage-Turner syndrome refers to a specific clinical form of brachial plexus neuropathy, with most evidence indicating an infectious or immune cause. In the United States reports have been limited to reviews of sporadic cases despite epidemiologic clustering in other geographic locations. This report presents an outbreak in the Native American Indian population from the southwest United States, representing the first epidemiologic cluster in this country. This occurrence exhibits a distinctive expression of the essential clinical features, a clear association with antecedent febrile illness, and an occurrence in an ethnic population. As diagnosis continues to be based on careful clinical observation, surveillance by knowledge of the disease will shed further insight into pathogenesis. Accordingly, Parsonage-Turner syndrome should be included during the diagnostic evaluation of patients with new-onset shoulder pain.

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