JOURNAL ARTICLE

Shoulder dystocia

Elizabeth G Baxley, Robert W Gobbo
American Family Physician 2004 April 1, 69 (7): 1707-14
15086043
Shoulder dystocia can be one of the most frightening emergencies in the delivery room. Although many factors have been associated with shoulder dystocia, most cases occur with no warning. Calm and effective management of this emergency is possible with recognition of the impaction and institution of specified maneuvers, such as the McRoberts maneuver, suprapubic pressure, internal rotation, or removal of the posterior arm, to relieve the impacted shoulder and allow for spontaneous delivery of the infant. The "HELPERR" mnemonic from the Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics course can be a useful tool for addressing this emergency. Although no ideal manipulation or treatment exists, all maneuvers in the HELPERR mnemonic aid physicians in completing one of three actions: enlarging the maternal pelvis through cephalad rotation of the symphysis and flattening of the sacrum; collapsing the fetal shoulder width; or altering the orientation of the longitudinal axis of the fetus to the plane of the obstruction. In rare cases in which these interventions are unsuccessful, additional management options, such as intentional clavicle fracture, symphysiotomy, and the Zavanelli maneuver, are described.

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