Volume 13, Issue 1: Bell’s palsy – face to face with a stroke mimicAuthor: Craig Jackson
Bell’s palsy – face to face with a stroke mimic
Before your crew mate even gets the handbrake off a job comes through, a 33-year-old female, potential stroke, no other details. On arrival the patient is anxious, reporting that her face has dropped on one side. You carry out a FAST test, but this may not be a stroke…
Bell’s palsy is an acute weakness of the facial muscles due to inflammation around the facial nerve, it accounts for approximately 80% of facial nerve palsies. The incidence in the UK is approximately between 20–30 per 100,000 people. This article outlines the anatomy and physiology of Bell’s Palsy and discusses the pathophysiology and clinical features that should be considered when assessing a patient. There is guidance on differential diagnosis, in particular ruling out a stroke, in the assessment and management of a patient with suspected Bell’s Palsy. There is also information on treatment and care in the primary care setting. Early and appropriate diagnosis and treatment can improve recovery time for the patient.
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