Objective: We aimed to analyze the risk factors for clavicle fractures in newborns with shoulder dystocia and brachial plexus injury and to determine whether their incidence is associated with local characteristics.
Methods: This study was conducted as a retrospective trial between January 2017 and December 2018. Patients with clavicular fracture who were hospitalized in the neonatal intensive care unit of a community hospital were retrospectively analyzed. The clavicular fracture cohort was first divided into two groups and then two subgroups: patients with/without shoulder dystocia and patients with/without a brachial plexus injury. Peripartum and neonatal risk factors of these patients were reviewed using the patient information system. Any additional neurological or musculoskeletal trauma was noted. A multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to determine independent predictors of shoulder dystocia and brachial plexus injury.
Results: A total of 46 patients with shoulder dystocia in 25 (54%) and brachial plexus injury in 12 (26%) were included in the study. The birth weight of patients with shoulder dystocia was 4,164.2±412.7 g, and that of patients without was 3,535.8±865.2 g (p=0.003). In 11 of 14 patients (44%) in whom labor was induced and whose infant had a fractured clavicle, the infant also had shoulder dystocia (p=0.029). Brachial plexus injury was found in 8 (66.7%) of 14 infants who were born by induced labor and who had a clavicular fracture (p=0.002). The regression analysis revealed that age and induction of labor were independent risk factors for brachial plexus injury (odds ratio=1.599 and 81.862, respectively). Gestational weight gain (p=0.003) and neonatal birth weight (p=0.047) were also found as independent risk factors for shoulder dystocia.
Conclusion: Evidence from this study has shown that not only birth age or birth weight but also excessive weight gain by mother and induction of labor may increase the risk of clavicula fracture with brachial plexus palsy. Advanced maternal age, multiparity, and deliveries after 39 weeks seem to be risk factors for a clavicular fracture with a brachial plexus injury.
Level of evidence: Level IV, Therapeutic study.