Prevention of brachial plexus injury-12 years of shoulder dystocia training: An interrupted time-series study

J. F. Crofts*, E. Lenguerrand, G. L. Bentham, S. Tawfik, H. A. Claireaux, D. Odd, R. Fox, T. J. Draycott

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

128 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To investigate management and outcomes of incidences of shoulder dystocia in the 12 years following the introduction of an obstetric emergencies training programme. Design: Interrupted time-series study comparing management and neonatal outcome of births complicated by shoulder dystocia over three 4-year periods: (i) Pre-training (1996-99), (ii) Early training (2001-04), and (iii) Late training (2009-12). Setting: Southmead Hospital, Bristol, UK, with approximately 6000 births per annum. Population: Infants and their mothers who experienced shoulder dystocia. Method: A bi-monthly multi-professional 1-day intrapartum emergencies training course, that included a 30-minute practical session on shoulder dystocia management, commenced in 2000. Main Outcomes: Neonatal morbidity (brachial plexus injury, humeral fracture, clavicular fracture, 5-minute Apgar score <7) and documented management of shoulder dystocia (resolution manoeuvres performed, traction applied, head-to-body delivery interval). Results: Compliance with national guidance improved with continued training. At least one recognised resolution manoeuvre was used in 99.8% (561/562) of cases of shoulder dystocia in the late training period, demonstrating a continued improvement from 46.3% (150/324, P < 0.001) pre-training, and 92% (241/262, P < 0.001) in the early training period. In parallel there was reduction in the brachial plexus injury at birth (24/324 [7.4%, P < 0.01], pre-training, 6/262 [2.3%] early training, and 7/562 [1.3%] late training. Conclusions: There are significant benefits to long-term, embedded training programmes with improvements in both management and outcomes. A decade after the introduction of training there were no cases of brachial plexus injury lasting over 12 months in 562 cases of shoulder dystocia.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2015


  • Brachial plexus injury
  • Shoulder dystocia
  • Simulation
  • Training


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