Role of Early Referral and Surgical Intervention in Brachial Plexus Birth Palsy: Awareness Among Obstetricians and Pediatricians in a Teaching Hospital

Int Q Community Health Educ. 2020 Jul;40(4):363-366. doi: 10.1177/0272684X19883523. Epub 2019 Oct 25.


A cross-sectional study was conducted using a validated and standardized questionnaire answered by willing pediatricians and obstetricians at our university teaching hospitals. Nearly two thirds of the pediatricians (62.8%) and three fourths of the obstetricians (73.6%) continued to accept the terminology of obstetric brachial plexus birth palsy which is a misnomer; 32.6% of pediatricians felt that they were unaware of the current trends in its management. Parental reluctance (23.5%) and inadequate knowledge in current approaches among surgeons and pediatricians (41.2%) were suggested as chief causes for the delay in their adequate referral and management using surgical exploration, nerve grafting, and nerve transfer. The delayed presentations of birth brachial plexus injuries with missed opportunity for optimum treatment can be partly attributed to inadequate information available on definitive guidelines in its management among the stakeholders including parents, primary care physicians, and surgeons.

Keywords: Erb’s palsy; brachial plexus birth palsy; early referral; obstetric brachial plexus palsy.

MeSH terms

  • Birth Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Birth Injuries / surgery
  • Brachial Plexus / injuries*
  • Brachial Plexus / surgery
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Hospitals, Teaching
  • Humans
  • Obstetrics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pediatricians / statistics & numerical data*
  • Physician's Role
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Time Factors