Evaluation of the hypotonic newborn

O. Papazian, I. Alfonso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The first step in evaluating a hypotonic newborn is to determine if the origin is at the nervous system or at the connective tissue of the muscles or both places. The second step is to determine if the lesions in the neurologic group are at the motor unit (segmental) or at other structures of the central nervous system involved in the regulation of muscle tone (suprasegmental) or at both levels. The third step is using history and physical examination to achieve a logical working diagnosis to lead future complementary tests to obtain the final diagnosis and, therefore, to plan treatment and predict outcome. The majority of the hypotonias are neurologic in origin (95%). Seventy six percent are suprasegmental and 24% segmental based on history and physical examination. Final diagnosis is obtained with a rational use of complementary tests in 65% of suprasegmental and 32% of segmental hypotonias. Three percent are mixed. Unfortunately there is still 35% and 68% of neonates with suprasegmental and segmental hypotonias without final diagnosis despite all available tests.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)161-172
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Pediatrics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996


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