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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 105-107

Unilateral upper extremity ischemia in a neonate – A rare complication of prematurity

Department of Orthopaedics, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Raipur, Chhattisgarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. R Dinesh Iyer
Flat No. C-003, Definer Kingdom Apartments, Near Budhigere Cross, Mandur Panchayat, Bengaluru - 560 049, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jotr.jotr_29_22

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Acute limb ischemia in the neonatal period is a rarely reported complication of prematurity and needs a high index of suspicion for early diagnosis and a multidisciplinary approach for its management. Here, we present a case of a preterm baby that developed unilateral upper limb ischemia in the neonatal period and discussed the problems faced in the management of such cases. A 24-day-old male baby was referred to the orthopedics department because of bluish-black discoloration of the right hand and forearm and no active movement in the wrist and hand. The baby was preterm, delivered at 29 weeks of gestation lower-segment cesarean section with a birth weight of 900 g to a healthy mother with no preexisting illness. Although the line of demarcation was just below the elbow joint and conventional wisdom would dictate us to go for a transhumeral amputation, we opted for a below elbow amputation in a bid to save the elbow joint as we could have revised the amputation at a later date if needed. Neonatal acute limb ischemia has been rarely reported and needs a high index of suspicion. Preterm and low birth weight babies are more prone to it. Treatment of such patients depends on the cause of gangrene. Amputation at such young age is psychologically disturbing for the parents. However, it is usually associated with good functional outcomes as the child has not yet learned the use of a limb or developed cortical plasticity in the brain. All attempts should be made to preserve as much joint and physis as possible to have a functional joint with better prosthetic fitting.

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