Peripheral facial nerve palsy in severe systemic hypertension: A systematic review

Rinaldo Jörg, Gregorio P. Milani, Giacomo D. Simonetti, Mario G. Bianchetti, Barbara Goeggel Simonetti

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Background Signs of nervous system dysfunction such as headache or convulsions often occur in severe systemic hypertension. Less recognized is the association between severe hypertension and peripheral facial nerve palsy. The aim of this study was to systematically review the literature on the association of peripheral facial palsy with severe hypertension. Methods Systematic review of Medline, Embase, Web of Science, and Google Scholar from 1960 through December 2011 and report of two cases. Results The literature review revealed 24 cases to which we add two cases with severe hypertension and peripheral facial palsy. Twenty-three patients were children. Palsy was unilateral in 25 cases, bilateral in one case, and recurred in nine. The time between the first facial symptoms and diagnosis of hypertension was a median of 45 days (range, 0 days-2 years). In five case series addressing the complications of severe hypertension in children, 41 further cases of peripheral facial palsy were listed out of 860 patients (4.8%). Conclusions The association between severe hypertension and peripheral facial palsy is mainly described in children. Arterial hypertension is diagnosed with a substantial delay. Outcome is favorable with adequate antihypertensive treatment. The pathophysiology is still debated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-356
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Hypertension
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


  • arterial hypertension
  • blood pressure
  • children
  • hypertension
  • hypertensive emergency
  • peripheral facial paralysis
  • systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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