Podcast #82: Bell's Palsy - The Emergency Medical Minute

Podcast #82: Bell’s Palsy

IMG_3957Run Time: 2 minutes

Author: Dr. Susan Brion

Educational Pearls:

  • Bell’s Palsy is an acute peripheral facial nerve palsy, which was named after Charles Bell who described the condition.
  • The facial nerve has branches that affect hearing, facial motor skills, salivation, lacrimation, and taste to the anterior 2/3 of the tongue.
  • Determining if the patient can move their eyebrow on the side of facial deficit can be used to differentiate a Bell’s Palsy and a stroke. If the patient cannot move their eyebrow, it is a Bell’s Palsy and not a CVA.
  • It is thought that Bell’s Palsy is caused by activation of the herpes simplex virus, herpes zoster, Lyme disease, HIV, Guillain-Barré, and even otitis media.
  • It is usually assumed the condition is caused by herpes simplex and is treated often with anti-viral medications and prednisone.
  • It is three times more likely to occur in women who are in their third trimester of pregnancy or during the first week postpartum.

References: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24189771



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