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Prognosis of Bell's palsy in children—analysis of 29 cases

  • Wen-Xiong Chen
    Affiliations
    Division of Neurodevelopmental Paediatrics, Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Queen Mary Hospital, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulamg, Hong Kong SAR, China
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  • Virginia Wong
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author. Tel.: +852 2855 4485; fax: +852 2855 1523.
    Affiliations
    Division of Neurodevelopmental Paediatrics, Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Queen Mary Hospital, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulamg, Hong Kong SAR, China
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      Abstract

      We report 29 children with 32 episodes of Bell's palsy admitted to a university affiliated hospital during an 8-year period (1995–2003). The peak age of onset was under 3 years. Three (10.3%) had recurrent attacks. Complete recovery occurred in all 32 episodes except 1 (3.1%) with partial recovery, having MRI evidence of parotitis shown in the contralateral side. The recovery rate within 3 weeks was 68.8%. There was statistically significant increase in the duration of complete recovery for those with positive virological confirmation or mycoplasma infection. There was no significant difference between the rate of recovery in those treated with a short course of steroid (N=23 attacks) than those without steroid treatment (N=9 attacks). As there were few studies in the natural course of children with Bell's palsy, evidence based trials should be done to assess the natural course rather than giving steroid empirically as those with more protracted recovery might be viral in origin.

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