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J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2001 Mar;83(2):226-9.

Symptoms and signs of irritation of the brachial plexus in whiplash injuries.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Kumamoto University School of Medicine, Japan.


We investigated the incidence of evidence of irritation of the brachial plexus in 119 patients with whiplash injuries sustained in road-traffic accidents. We compared the symptoms, physical signs, autonomic status, psychological status and findings from radiographs of the cervical spine using examination charts and a modified Cornell Medical Index Health questionnaire, in patients in two distinct groups: those with irritation of the brachial plexus and those without. There were 45 patients (37.8%) in the first group. The ratio of women to men was significantly higher in patients with irritation of the plexus as was the incidence of symptoms other than neck pain. There was no significant difference between the two groups with regard to psychological status or findings in radiographs of the cervical spine. Symptoms and signs attributable to stretching of the brachial plexus do occur in a significant proportion of patients after a whiplash injury. Their presence and persistence are associated with a poor outcome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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