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Acute facial palsy in children - a 2-year follow-up study with focus on Lyme neuroborreliosis
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Pediatrics . Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Östergötlands Läns Landsting, Centre of Paediatrics and Gynecology and Obstetrics, Department of Paediatrics in Linköping.
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Pediatrics . Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Östergötlands Läns Landsting, Centre of Paediatrics and Gynecology and Obstetrics, Department of Paediatrics in Linköping.
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Oto-Rhiono-Laryngology and Head & Neck Surgery . Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Östergötlands Läns Landsting, Reconstruction Centre, Department of ENT - Head and Neck Surgery UHL.
2003 (English)In: International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, ISSN 0165-5876, Vol. 67, no 6, 597-602 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective: Acute facial palsy in children is believed to be a rather benign neurological condition. Follow-up-studies are sparse, especially including a thorough otoneurological re-examination. The aim of this study was to examine children with a history of facial palsy in order to register the incidence of complete recovery and the severity and nature of sequelae. We also wanted to investigate whether there was a correlation between sequelae and Lyme Borreliosis, treatment or other health problems.

Methods: Twenty-seven children with a history of facial palsy were included. A re-examination was performed by an Ear-Nose-Throat (ENT) specialist 1–2.9 years (median 2) after the acute facial palsy. The otoneurological examination included grading the three branches of the facial nerve with the House-Brackman score, otomicroscopy and investigation with Frenzel glasses. A paediatrician interviewed the families. Medical files were analysed.

Result: The incidence of complete recovery was 78% at the 2-year follow-up. In six out of 27 children (22%), the facial nerve function was mildly or moderately impaired. Four children reported problems with tear secretion and pronunciation. There was no correlation between sequelae after the facial palsy and gender, age, related symptoms, Lyme neuroborreliosis (NB), treatment, other health problems or performance.

Conclusion: One fifth of children with an acute facial palsy get a permanent dysfunction of the facial nerve. Other neurological symptoms or health problems do not accompany the sequelae of the facial palsy. Lyme NB or treatment seems to have no correlation to clinical outcome. Factors of importance for complete recovery after an acute facial palsy are still not known.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2003. Vol. 67, no 6, 597-602 p.
Keyword [en]
Facial palsy, Sequelae, Lyme borreliosis, Children
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-13160DOI: 10.1016/S0165-5876(03)00061-2OAI: diva2:17947
Available from: 2008-05-07 Created: 2008-05-07 Last updated: 2009-08-18
In thesis
1. Neuroborreliosis in childhood: Clinical, immunological and diagnostic aspects
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Neuroborreliosis in childhood: Clinical, immunological and diagnostic aspects
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Lyme Borreliosisis is a multi-organ infectious disease caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. The spirochete is transmitted to humans by tick bites. Neuroborreliosis (NB) is a disseminated form of the disease, in which the spirochetes invade the nervous system. In children, subacute meningitis and facial nerve palsy are typical clinical manifestations of NB.

The aim of this thesis was to study clinical, immunological and laboratory characteristics in children being evaluated for NB in a Lyme endemic area of Sweden, in order to identify factors of importance for prognosis and clinical recovery. A total of 250 patients and 220 controls were included during 1998-2005, with a prospective and a retrospective part.

Less than half (41%) of children with signs and symptoms indicative of NB get the diagnosis confirmed by detection of Borrelia specific flagella antibodies in CSF (clinical routine method). Surprisingly few patients were diagnosed as having other infectious or neurologic diseases and consequently, many patients ended up with an uncertain diagnosis. However, four new Borrelia antigens (DbpA, BBK32, OspC, IR6) were evaluated and performed well in laboratory diagnostics. If they were combined in a panel, together with the flagella antigen, the sensitivity was 82% and the specificity 100%, leading to improved diagnostic accuracy in children with NB, as compared to using the routine flagella antibody test alone.

Clinical recovery at the 6-month follow-up (n=177) was generally good and nonspecific symptoms, such as headache and fatigue, were not more frequently reported in patients than in controls. No patient was found to have recurrent or progressive neurologic symptoms.

However, permanent facial nerve palsy was found in 22% of patients at the 2-year follow-up, with consequences such as eye-closing problems, excessive tear secretion, pronunciation difficulties and cosmetic complaints.

When cellular immune responses were investigated, the number of Borrelia-specific IL-4 and IFN-γ secreting cells in CSF was found to be more prominent in children with NB than in controls. Furthermore, a much stronger IL-4 response in CSF was seen in children as compared to adults with NB. This cytokine profile of children with NB is believed to represent an effective and balanced type1/type2 response in a relevant compartment, and could contribute to the less severe course of the disease seen in children as compared to adults with NB.

No prognostic factors were found to influence the outcome in patients with “Confirmed NB” or facial nerve palsy. Nor was any specific cytokine profile, or antibody response to new Borrelia antigens in CSF, correlated to a less favorable clinical outcome.

An NB prediction score test, based on clinical variables at admission, is suggested to help physicians to determine whether to start early antibiotic treatment, before results from Borrelia antibody tests are available.

Results in this thesis support the notion that mononuclear pleocytosis in CSF, in patients being evaluated for NB, indicates that they are true NB cases despite the fact that an antibody response cannot yet be visualized. with the routine flagella test. Consequently, early antibiotic treatment in NB seems to be the correct course of action and over-treatment is not a substantial problem.

Abstract [sv]

Borrelia-infektion hos barn och vuxna är den vanligaste fästingburna infektionen i Sverige och orsakas av en bakterie som heter Borrelia burgdorferi. Den sprids till människa via fästingbett och kan orsaka besvär från hud, leder, hjärtmuskel och nervsystem. När nervsystemet är infekterat kallas det Neuroborrelios.

Denna avhandling handlar om Neuroborrelios hos barn i syd-östra Sverige, ett område med hög Borrelia-förekomst. Jag har studerat symtom, laborativa provsvar och tillfrisknande hos 250 barn med misstänkt Neuroborrelios under åren 1998-2005 och jämfört med friska barn. Dessutom har jag tittat närmare på vissa signalsubstanser inom immunförsvaret i blod och ryggvätska och vilken roll signalsubstanserna spelar för förlopp och utläkning av infektionen. Avhandlingen innehåller också en utvärdering av fyra nya diagnostiska test vid misstänkt Neuroborrelios hos barn.

Det visar sig att mindre än hälften (41%) av barnen med misstänkt Neuroborrelios får diagnosen säkerställd med det befintliga Borrelia-testet (baserat på ett protein som kallas flagellin) som används rutinmässigt. Dock förblir diagnosen oklar för många barn (59%). De fyra nya Borrelia-testen (baserade på protein som kallas DbpA, BBK32, OspC och IR6) visar sig fungera bra och om man kombinerar dem med befintligt Borrelia-test, kan man säkerställa Neuroborrelios hos 82% av barnen med misstänkt infektion. Jag hoppas att dessa nya Borrelia-test i framtiden kan leda till förbättrad diagnostik hos barn som utreds för misstänkt Neuroborrelios.

Immunförsvarets signalsubstanser, som analyserades i ryggvätska och blod, visade sig ha en viss profil hos barn med Neuroborrelios jämfört med barn utan Borrelia-infektion, men även jämfört med vuxna med Neuroborrelios. De immunologiska T cellerna producerade två olika sorters signalsubstanser, som kallas ”Interferon-γ” och ”Interleukin-4”. Denna immunologiska profil verkar fördelaktig och kan möjligen bidra till den i allmänhet goda utläkning av Neuroborrelios som man ser hos barn jämfört med vuxna.

De vanligaste symtomen vid en Borrelia-infektion i nervsystemet är huvudvärk, trötthet, dålig aptit, feber och ont i nacken. Ansiktsförlamning är det vanligaste specifika neurologiska symtomet. Antibiotikabehandling ges till 69% av barnen och vid en 6 månaders uppföljning rapporterar patienterna god utläkning av de olika symtomen. Inget barn hade återkommande eller allvarliga neurologiska symtom vid uppföljningen. Däremot, barn med ansiktsförlamning visade sig få kvarstående besvär i viss utsträckning. När de undersöktes 2 år efter sin ansiktsförlamning förekom mild till måttlig kvarstående förlamning i 22% av fallen. Patienterna uppgav besvär av ökat tårflöde, sluddrigt tal, svårigheter med att stänga ögat och dessutom rapporterade många patienter att snedheten i ansiktet var kosmetiskt störande.

Inga specifika symtom, laborativa prov, immunologiska signalsubstanser eller diagnostiska test visade sig vara kopplade till ökad risk för kvarstående besvär efter Neuroborrelios i allmänhet och inte eller hos patienter med ansiktsförlamning.

En checklista har utarbetats med olika symtom som är typiska för barn med Neuroborrelios. Den föreslås kunna användas som beslutsunderlag för start av tidig antibiotikabehandling, redan innan svar på Borrelia-testen finns tillgängliga.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping University Electronic Press, 2008
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 1048
Neuroborreliosis, Immune response, Diagnostics, Children, Lyme Borreliosis
National Category
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-11520 (URN)978-91-7393-961-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-05-23, Berzeliussalen, Hälsouniversitetet, Campus US, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2008-05-07 Created: 2008-05-07 Last updated: 2015-11-19

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Hedin-Skogman, BarbroCroner, StefanÖdkvist, Lars
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Pediatrics Faculty of Health SciencesDepartment of Paediatrics in LinköpingOto-Rhiono-Laryngology and Head & Neck Surgery Department of ENT - Head and Neck Surgery UHL
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