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Did Your Newborn Suffer Cerebral
Palsy or Another Brain Injury Before
or During Labor and Delivery?

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Our Birth Brain Injury Resource Guide

the guide

Get a FREE guide of resources available throughout Ohio to children and families of children who were born with brain injuries.

Our guide can help you build a foundation of knowledge and tools that will help you help your child
now and in the future.

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Klumpke’s Palsy – Diagnosis

Klumpke’s Palsy is a condition that primarily affects newborn babies and occurs during birth. It is considered to be a rare disease, according to the Office of Rare Diseases. Diagnosing the condition is the first step in recovery and allows treatment to begin.

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Understanding What Klumpke’s Palsy Is

Elk & Elk

First, you should understand what this condition is and how it impacts the body. There are three sets of nerves that work together to provide function to the shoulder, arm, and hand. The third set is the C8 and T1 nerves, which work with the flexor and extensor muscles. When these nerves are damaged, either by being stretched or torn, they cause weakness and numbness in the affected hand and arm as well as loss of movement and feeling.

Most often seen in newborns during a difficult vaginal birth, Klumpke’s Palsy may range from mild to severe. It is important to diagnose this condition to aid in recovery.

Signs of the Condition

The first indication that a baby may have Klumpke’s Palsy is by noticing the signs of the condition. You may notice that one hand and arm does not have the same level of movement as the other one. In addition, you may see the eyelid on the opposite side drooping. Other symptoms include stiff joints, pain in the arm, and lack of feeling in the hand or arm. When the condition is severe, the hand may be tightened, which is referred to as claw hand.

Once you notice weakness in one arm, you’ll alert the doctor. They will perform one or more tests to confirm the diagnosis. These tests check for any nerve damage and may include an MRI, nerve conduction study, or electromyogram.

With mild cases, the condition may heal itself, and a formal diagnosis may never be obtained. However, more severe cases will require testing for an accurate diagnosis followed by treatment.