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Klumpke's Palsy: A Common Birth Injury

Unfortunately, birth injuries happen to a large number of babies every year. While some birth injuries are unavoidable, other injuries are the results of mistakes made by medical professionals. If a child is injured by a mistake made by a medical professional, those individuals should be held responsible.

Some people may have read the firm's earlier post on Erb's Palsy. Another brachial plexus injury can cause another disorder known as Klumpke's Palsy. This birth injury is a paralysis that everyone should understand, especially if it was the result of trauma during the birthing process

The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that starts near the spinal cord and runs through the armpit into the upper limbs. These nerves are a vital network that powers the motor and sensory function of the entire arm. If this brachial plexus is damaged in any way, it can contribute to the rise of a variety of symptoms that vary depending on the nerves that are injured. Klumpke's Palsy results from the damage of some of these nerves and gives rise to a unique set of symptoms that parents should remain vigilant for.

Klumpke's Palsy results from damage to the nerves C8 and T1. This injury commonly results from a traumatic delivery through the vaginal canal. If the infant is large or the mother has a small canal, traction can be placed on the arm. If the infant is pulled out of the canal while this arm is caught, these nerves can be severed. This will result in a permanent disorder that will impact the child's ability to use this affected arm.

The symptoms of Klumpke's Palsy are different from Erb's Palsy because Klumpke's Palsy results from an injury to nerves that make up the lower portion of the brachial plexus. The classic presentation of Klumpke's Palsy is referred to as the "claw hand." The child will have the wrist and fingers flexed in a permanent position because the muscles that perform the opposite functions have been damaged. For example, the child will not be able to extend the wrist of fingers because the nerves that power those muscles have been permanently damaged by the traumatic injury. This makes it very challenging for the patient to perform any productive movements with this hand.

If the T1 nerve is severely affected, the child may also develop a portion of a syndrome known as Horner's Syndrome. This is a relatively common syndrome that has three symptoms. The first is ptosis or drooping of the eyelid on the affected side. The second symptom is anhidrosis or a deficiency in the ability to sweat in the affected region. The third symptom is miosis or a pinpoint pupil due to damage in the nerve that powers the dilation of the pupil. Traction on the arm during delivery can lead to a variety of symptoms that parents should remain watchful for. Some of these symptoms last for life.

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