Prognostic factors for recovery in Portuguese patients with Bell’s palsy

Objective: The main aim of this study was to identify the prognostic factors that contribute to complete recovery
at 6 weeks and 6 months in patients with Bell’s palsy.
Material and Methods: This is a prospective, longitudinal, and descriptive study that included 123 patients
diagnosed with facial nerve palsy (FNP) at a hospital in Guimarães, Portugal. However, only 73 patients with Bell’s
palsy (BP) were included in the assessment of recovery at 6 weeks and 6 months. We analyzed the demographic
and clinical characteristics of the patients, including sex, age, paralyzed side, occupation, previous and associated
symptoms, seasonal occurrence, familial facial palsy, patient perception, intervention options, and baseline grade
according to the House-Brackmann facial grading system (HB-FGS).
Results: Of the 123 cases with FNP, 79 (64.2%) patients had BP. Age, sex, and baseline HB-FGS grades were
significant predictors of complete recovery at 6 weeks. Patients with HB-FGS grade III or lower (6 weeks baseline)
had significant recovery of function at 6 months.
Conclusions: Baseline severity of BP, elderly patients, and male sex were early predictors of poor prognosis.
Patients with mild and moderate dysfunction according to the HB-FGS achieved significant normal facial function
at 6 months. Further prospective studies with longer observation periods and larger samples are needed to verify
the results.

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