Article abstract

Introduction: Brachial plexus birth injury is one of the challenges associated with maternal delivery, with varying prevalence between countries. Brachial plexus birth injury poses negative health implications to children and also has socio-economic implications on families and the community as a whole. To treat BPB injury, a multi-disciplinary treatment approach is recommended. Brachial plexus birth palsy is categorised into two-upper plexus injury (Erb's palsy) and lower plexus injury (Klumpke's palsy). These categories present with various degrees of injuries, with less severe injuries responding well to treatment and in most instances may resolve on their own, but serious and complicated injuries will require a multi-disciplinary treatment approach to treat and/or manage. Effective treatment and management depends on adequate knowledge of the disease condition. These include the risk factors and prevalence of Brachial plexus birth injury within a particular population at a specific period in time. The aim of this study was to determine the risk factors and the prevalence of a hospital based BPBP within a five-year period (2013-2017).


Methods: a five-year retrospective study design was used. The study involved selection of all clients' diagnosed with brachial plexus birth palsy, where their gender, birth weight, complications at birth, type of brachial plexus suffered, mothers' diabetes status, mother's age, birth attendant, side of affectation, presentation at birth and mode of delivery were recorded.


Results: the prevalence rate of brachial plexus birth palsy was 14.7% out of a total of three hundred and twenty (320) cases reviewed over the study period in the Volta Regional Hospital. Erb's palsy was found to be the modal type of BPBP in this population (93.6%).


Conclusion: there is the need to provide a nationwide education on the risk factors that predispose babies to brachial plexus birth palsy. There is also the need for frequent antenatal visit by pregnant women; this will help in the provision of best antenatal history, diagnostic investigation in determining the birth weight and safe mode of delivery.