Incidence rate, risk factors, and management of Bell's palsy in the Qurayyat region of Saudi Arabia.PeerJ. 2022; 10:e14076.P
Bell's palsy is an idiopathic facial nerve dysfunction causing temporary paralysis of muscles of facial expression. This study aimed to determine the incidence rate, common risk factors, and preferred treatment by the Saudi patients with Bell's palsy.
This cross-sectional study was carried out in the Qurayyat region of Saudi Arabia. The retrospective medical records were searched from 2015-2020 of patients diagnosed with Bell's palsy at Qurayyat General Hospital and King Fahad hospital. A 28-item questionnaire was developed by a team of experts and pre-tested among patients with Bell's palsy before being sent to the eligible participants. The data were analyzed using summary statistics, Chi-square test, Fisher exact test and Likelihood ratio test.
We identified 279 cases of Bell's palsy from the medical records of the hospitals from the years 2015 to 2020, accounting for 46.5 cases per year and an incidence rate of 25.7 per 100,000 per year. Out of 279 patients with Bell's palsy, only 171 returned the questionnaire accounting for a response rate of 61.2%. Out of 171 patients with Bell's palsy, females (n = 147, 86.0%) accounted for the majority of cases. The most affected age group among participants with Bell's palsy was 21-30 years (n = 76, 44.4%). There were 153 (89.5%) cases who reported Bell's palsy for the first time. The majority of the participants experienced right-sided facial paralysis (n = 96, 56.1%). Likelihood ratio test revealed significant relationship between exposure to cold air and common cold with age groups (χ2(6, N = 171) = 14.92, p = 0.021), χ2(6, N = 171) = 16.35, pp = 0.012 respectively. The post hoc analyses revealed that participants in the age group of 20-31-years were mostly affected due to exposure to cold air and common cold than the other age groups. The main therapeutic approach preferred was physiotherapy (n = 149, 87.1%), followed by corticosteroids and antivirals medications (n = 61, 35.7%), acupressure (n = 35, 20.5%), traditional Saudi herb medicine (n = 32, 18.7%), cauterization by hot iron rod (n = 23, 13.5%), supplementary therapy (n = 2, 1.2%), facial cosmetic surgery (n = 1, 0.6%) and no treatment (n = 1, 0.6%). The most preferred combined therapy was physiotherapy (87.6%) with corticosteroid and antiviral drugs (35.9%), and acupressure (17.6%).
The rate of Bell's palsy was approximately 25.7 per 100,000 per year in the Qurayyat region of Saudi Arabia. Exposure to cold air and common cold were the significant risk factors associated with Bell's palsy. Females were predominantly affected by Bell's palsy in the Qurayyat region of Saudi Arabia. Bell's palsy most commonly occurred in the age group 21-30 years. The most favored treatment was physiotherapy following Bell's palsy.