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Rare case of a newborn baby with left-sided Erb’s palsy and a contralateral/right-sided paralysis of the diaphragm


Brachial plexus birth injury (BPBI) and phrenic nerve injury can sometimes occur concurrently in neonates following difficult deliveries like breech presentation, shoulder dystocia, forceps or vacuum extraction. Phrenic nerve palsy should be suspected in a newborn with respiratory distress and an elevated hemidiaphragm on the imaging studies in presence of the associated risk factors. The right side is affected more often than the left side and most of it is associated with BPBI. We present here a rare case of a newborn baby with a left-sided Erb’s palsy and a contralateral/right-sided diaphragmatic paralysis who recovered from the persistent respiratory distress and feeding difficulties following plication of the diaphragm. The left-sided Erb’s palsy also fully recovered at follow-up examination.

  • neonatal and paediatric intensive care
  • neurological injury
  • neonatal intensive care

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