Knowledge of neonatal brachial plexus palsy among medical professionals in North America

Childs Nerv Syst. 2021 Aug 18. doi: 10.1007/s00381-021-05310-9. Online ahead of print.


PURPOSE: Early referral of neonatal brachial plexus palsy (NBPP) patients to multidisciplinary clinics is critical for timely diagnosis, treatment, and improved functional outcomes. In Saudi Arabia, inadequate knowledge regarding NBPP is a reason for delayed referral. We aimed to evaluate the knowledge of North American healthcare providers (HCPs) regarding the diagnosis, management, and prognosis of NBPP.

METHODS: A 12-question survey regarding NBPP was distributed via electronic and paper formats to North American providers from various referring and treating specialties. NBPP knowledge was compared between Saudi Arabian vs. North American providers, referring vs. treating specialties, academic vs. community hospitals, and providers with self-reported confidence vs. nonconfidence in NBPP knowledge.

RESULTS: Of the 273 surveys collected, 45% were from referring providers and 55% were from treating providers. Saudi Arabian and North American HCPs demonstrated similar NBPP knowledge except for potential etiologies for NBPP and surgery timing. In North America, referring and treating providers had similar overall knowledge of NBPP but lacked familiarity with its natural history. A knowledge gap existed between academic and community hospitals regarding timing of referral/initiation of physical/occupational therapy (PT/OT) and Horner’s syndrome. Providers with self-reported confidence in treating NBPP had greater knowledge of types of NBPP and timing for PT/OT initiation.

CONCLUSIONS: Overall, North American providers demonstrated adequate knowledge of NBPP. However, both eastern and western physicians remain overly optimistic in believing that most infants recover spontaneously. This study revealed a unique and universal knowledge gap in NBPP diagnosis, referral, and management worldwide. Continuous efforts to increase NBPP knowledge are indicated.

PMID:34406450 | DOI:10.1007/s00381-021-05310-9

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