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Looking for information on Erb's Palsy

David dhe at eden.rutgers.edu
Fri Jun 9 02:08:17 EST 1995

Steve Sobaski <sobaski at uiuc.edu> writes:

>I'm searching for information regarding Erb's palsy, especially related 
>to infants. My 7 month old nephew was recently diagnosed with this 
>condition - stemming from his breech delivery - and his parents have been 
>unable to get much information from their pediatrician. Any suggestions 
>on references, or resources on the World Wide Web that would have 
>information related to this condition and its treatment would be 
>gratefully appreciated. 

Another name for it is Erb's paralysis.  I found a brief description
of it in the 16th edition of the Merck manual (1992), page 1994.  It's
an injury to the brachial plexus, which is a network of nerves that
run from the cervical part of the spinal cord to the forearm and hand.
In a breech birth, the brachial plexus may be stretched or otherwise

Treatment, says the Merck manual, "includes protecting the arm through
immobilization across the upper abdomen and preventing contractures by
daily passive gentle range of motion exercises to involved joints
starting at one week of age."  Improvement "is usually rapid.  If a
significant deficit persists > 3 months, surgical exploration and
repair should be considered."

So the prognosis sounds good.  I'm sure you can get more information
from a textbook of pediatrics; I don't have one.  Adams & Victor's big
neurology text doesn't seem to mention Erb's.


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