What is the role of CSF analysis in the diagnosis of Ramsay Hunt syndrome?

Updated: Jul 17, 2018
  • Author: Sombat Muengtaweepongsa, MD, MSc; Chief Editor: Niranjan N Singh, MBBS, MD, DM, FAHS, FAANEM  more...
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Answer

In the setting of a peripheral facial palsy, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) rarely is analyzed. Although lumbar puncture is not recommended in the diagnosis of this disease, CSF findings can be helpful in confirming the diagnosis. In one study, CSF findings were abnormal in 11% of 239 patients with idiopathic peripheral facial palsy, in 60% of 17 patients with Ramsay Hunt syndrome (abnormal finding was pleocytosis), in 25% of 8 patients with Lyme disease, and in all 8 patients with HIV infection. Thus, if the CSF is abnormal, a specific cause should be sought.


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