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2020 Mar 30

J Clin Med



Clinical Presentations and Outcome Studies of Cranial Nerve Involvement in Herpes Zoster Infection: A Retrospective Single-Center Analysis.


Tsau P-W, Liao M-F, Hsu J-L, Hsu H-C, Peng C-H, Lin Y-C, Kuo H-C, Ro L-S
J Clin Med. 2020 Mar 30; 9(4).
PMID: 32235469.


Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) infection can cause chickenpox and herpes zoster. It sometimes involves cranial nerves, and rarely, it can involve multiple cranial nerves. We aimed to study clinical presentations of cranial nerve involvement in herpes zoster infection. We included patients who had the diagnosis of herpes zoster infection and cranial nerve involvement. The diagnosis was confirmed by typical vesicles and a rash. We excluded patients who had cranial neuralgias or neuropathies but without typical skin lesions (zoster sine herpete or post-herpetic neuralgia). We included 330 patients (mean age, 55.0 ± 17.0 years) who had herpes zoster with cranial nerve involvement, including 155 men and 175 women. Most frequently involved cranial nerves were the trigeminal nerve (57.9%), facial nerve (52.1%), and vestibulocochlear nerve (20.0%). Other involved cranial nerves included the glossopharyngeal nerve (0.9%), vagus nerve (0.9%), oculomotor nerve, trochlear nerve, and abducens nerve (each 0.3%, respectively). One hundred and seventy patients (51.5%) had only sensory symptoms/signs; in contrast, 160 patients (48.5%) had both sensory and motor symptoms/signs. Of those 160 patients, sensory preceded motor symptoms/signs in 64 patients (40.0%), sensory and motor symptoms/signs occurred simultaneously in 38 patients (23.8%), and motor preceded sensory symptoms/signs in 20 patients (12.5%). At one month after herpes zoster infection, vesicles and rash disappeared in 92.6% of patients; meanwhile facial palsy showed a significant improvement in 81.4% of patients ( < 0.05). Cranial motor neuropathies are not infrequent in herpes zoster infections. Multiple cranial nerve involvement frequently occurred in Ramsay Hunt syndrome. We found a significantly increased seasonal occurrence of cranial nerve zoster in spring rather than summer. Cranial motor nerves were affected while the hosts sometimes had a compromised immune system.