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Clavicle Fracture in Labor: Risk Factors and Associated Morbidities


OBJECTIVE:Neonatal clavicle fracture has been previously reported to occur in association with shoulder dystocia, suggesting liability on behalf of the obstetrician. However, clavicle fracture is often inconsistently diagnosed, and shoulder dystocia commonly subjectively defined. Using a formal pediatric diagnosis protocol and an objective definition of shoulder dystocia, we sought to determine the incidence, antecedents, and associated morbidities of clavicle fracture and the potential association with shoulder dystocia.

STUDY DESIGN:All deliveries at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center complicated by clavicle fracture from January 1996 to March 1999 were studied. Deliveries with clavicle fracture were compared to all vaginal deliveries during this period.

RESULTS:Among 4297 deliveries, twenty-six were complicated by clavicle fracture (0.5%). Clavicle fracture was significantly associated with increased maternal age and birth weight greater than 4 kg, though not associated with shoulder dystocia or operative vaginal delivery. Clavicle fracture was associated with meconium passage and with neonatal orthopedic abnormalities.

CONCLUSION:Neonatal clavicle fracture is associated with infant birth weight greater than 4 kg, but not with the occurrence of objectively defined shoulder dystocia. However, infants with clavicle fracture may be at increased risk for additional complications.


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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Marie H Beall MD.

Additional information

Presented at the Society for Maternal–Fetal Medicine Annual Meeting, February 1–5, 2000, Miami, FL, USA.

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Beall, M., Ross, M. Clavicle Fracture in Labor: Risk Factors and Associated Morbidities. J Perinatol 21, 513–515 (2001).

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