Addressing racial and ethnic disparities in brachial plexus birth Injury

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Mary Claire B. Manske, MD, discusses her findings on the unexplained increased risk of brachial plexus birth injury among Black and Hispanic infants, highlighting the need for improved prenatal care and further research.

In a recent interview, Mary Claire B. Manske, MD, from Shriners Hospital for Children, discussed her presentation about racial and ethnic disparities in brachial plexus birth injury at the 2024 ACOG Annual Clinical & Scientific Meeting.

Manske treats brachial plexus birth injury and is interested in the condition’s epidemiology. She finds it interesting that the condition falls at the intersection of clinical discipline, meaning obstetrics and childbirth overlap with treatment.

Data his indicated Black and Hispanic birthing individuals have an increased risk of delivering an infant impacted be brachial plexus birth injury. However, the source behind this association has not been determined. The study Manske presented evaluated whether the increased risk of brachial plexus birth injury among these populations was linked to an increased risk of known risk factors.

Results indicated Black and Hispanic women are at decreased risk of many factors significantly associated with the condition. Data also indicated the composite risk factor failed to explain the excess risk of brachial plexus birth injury among Black and Hispanic women.

This topic is important to discuss for both treatment and prevention strategies, especially when there are racial and ethnic disparities presents. Further understanding about why certain groups are at high risk may help prevent brachial plexus birth injuries.

Manske highlighted that racial and ethnic disparities, including those among perinatal birth outcomes and brachial plexus birth injuries, are well documented. Doctors need to move documenting that the disparities exist and further understanding about why they exist. Manske hopes this study will be a step in that direction.

Additionally, the research noted that inadequate or intermediate prenatal care utilization was linked to increased brachial plexus birth injury risk. “That is a prenatally identifiable, potentially modifiable risk factor for plexus injuries,” Manske said, bringing attention to how clinicians should work to provide adequate care to their patients.

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