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Dev Med Child Neurol. 2007 Mar;49(3):198-203.

Long-term follow-up of children with obstetric brachial plexus palsy I: functional aspects.

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Department of Neuropaediatrics, Astrid Lindgren Children's Hospital, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.


The aims of this study were to describe the development of sequelae in obstetric brachial plexus palsy (OBPP) and to identify possible differences in functional outcome from 5 years of age to follow-up, 2 to 15 years later. A cohort of 70 participants (35 males, 35 females; age range 7-20y, mean 13y 6mo [SD 4y 3mo], median 13y) with OBPP of varying degrees of severity were monitored. Differences in status between 5 years of age and follow-up were studied. Active joint motion in the shoulder and hand function, especially grip strength, generally remained unchanged or improved, whereas a slight but significant deterioration occurred in elbow function. Shoulder surgery resulted in considerable improvement of shoulder function. Participants with nerve reconstruction had a similar profile of change as the non-operated group. It was concluded that ongoing follow-up of children with OBPP, beyond the preschool years, is required due to decreases in elbow function, a commonly occurring restriction in external rotation of the shoulder, together with individual variations in long-term outcomes. In a related article (part II: neurophysiological aspects) long-term neurophysiological and sensory aspects of OBPP are reported.

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