Fractured clavicle is an unavoidable event

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1994 Sep;171(3):797-8. doi: 10.1016/0002-9378(94)90100-7.


Objectives: The three purposes of this study were to determine the incidence of fractured clavicle in newborns delivered at our hospital, to identify preventable risk factors associated with these fractured clavicles, and to identify the acute sequelae of fractured clavicle in these infants.

Study design: We performed a retrospective chart review of all women delivered during an 8-month period. Newborns with radiologically proved fractured clavicles were compared with a control group of infants delivered immediately before and immediately after the study patient. Maternal, labor, delivery, and newborn factors were analyzed statistically.

Results: A fractured clavicle occurred in 0.9% (34/3880) of vaginally delivered newborns; none occurred with an abdominal delivery. The only statistically significant risk factors were gestational age, shoulder dystocia, and newborn weight. No infant with fractured clavicle had a 5-minute Apgar score < 7, an abnormal cord blood pH, or an abnormal neurologic examination.

Conclusions: We did not identify a specific perinatal factor that can be changed to avoid clavicle fracture. The injury appears to be an unavoidable event without permanent sequelae. Thus it is not an indicator for quality improvement.

MeSH terms

  • Birth Injuries / complications
  • Birth Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Birth Injuries / prevention & control
  • Birth Weight
  • Clavicle / injuries*
  • Dystocia / complications
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone / complications
  • Fractures, Bone / epidemiology*
  • Fractures, Bone / prevention & control
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors