Epidemiology and treatment of Bell's palsy in children in northern Taiwan.J Microbiol Immunol Infect. 2009 Aug; 42(4):351-6.JM
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
Bell's palsy is not uncommon in children. This study was performed to evaluate the epidemiology of Bell's palsy in the northern Taiwanese pediatric population, and the effectiveness of corticosteroid treatment.
The medical records of pediatric patients with a primary diagnosis of facial palsy from April 2002 through March 2007 were reviewed. Patients with secondary facial palsy were excluded from the analysis.
289 episodes of facial palsy were identified and the clinical findings of 134 episodes among 132 patients were assessed. The median +/- standard deviation age was 9.9 +/- 4.9 years, and 58.2% of patients were girls. Children were more likely to have episodes of Bell's palsy during the cold season, with a peak in January. The left (67 episodes; 50.0%) and right (64 episodes; 47.8%) facial nerves were involved with similar frequency. Common symptoms were postauricular pain (11.2%) and facial hypoesthesia (9.0%). Of 51 episodes of Bell's palsy with complete follow-up, corticosteroids were given for 44 episodes. Thirty eight patients (86.4%) given corticosteroids had complete recovery and 4 patients (57.1%) recovered without corticosteroids. Rates of complete recovery did not differ significantly between the 2 groups (p = 0.08). There were no significant differences in the recovery rate between early (< or = 3 days) and late (4-7 days) administration.
In northern Taiwan, childhood Bell's palsy peaks from January through March. The majority of children with Bell's palsy recovered completely. There was no significant effect of corticosteroid treatment for children with Bell's palsy.