Bilateral Facial Nerve (Bell’s) Palsy in a 24-Year-Old Woman: A Case Report
Objective: To report a case of acute bilateral facial nerve palsy in a 24-year-old woman and to present the differential diagnoses, pathophysiology, management and prognosis
Design: Case study
Setting: Tertiary Private Hospital
Patient: One (1)
Result: A 24-year-old woman with fever, joint pains, cough, chest pain, difficulty ambulating and progressive facial muscle weakness was diagnosed with rheumatic fever. Bilateral facial nerve paralysis was noted, and Electromyography-Nerve Conduction Velocity (EMG-NCV) testing with special facial nerve study revealed abnormal facial nerve and blink reflex studies while EMG-NCV of the upper and lower limbs were normal. Audiometry and MRI of the brain and facial nerve were normal while Schirmer’s Test showed decreased tearing in both eyes. The rheumatic fever resolved within 5 days of antibiotics, while Prednisone and physiotherapy resulted in improvement of facial paralysis from House Brackmann V to House Brackmann II-III over a period of 6 months.
Conclusion: Idiopathic facial paralysis or Bell’s Palsy is the most common cause of acute unilateral facial paralysis while bilateral facial nerve paralysis is a rare condition. Patients with facial palsy should undergo appropriate diagnostics to determine the underlying condition and to facilitate prompt management.
Keywords: facial paralysis, idiopathic; Bell’s palsy
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