Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Bilateral peripheral facial paralysis during pregnancy: a presentation of acute HIV seroconversion
  1. Adam T Ladzinski1,
  2. Nicholas B George2 and
  3. Brett W Jagger1
  1. 1Department of Medicine, Western Michigan University Homer Stryker MD School of Medicine, Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA
  2. 2Departments of Medicine and Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, Western Michigan University Homer Stryker MD School of Medicine, Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Brett W Jagger; brett.jagger{at}


A G7P5A1 woman in her 40s presented to the emergency department at 37 weeks 3 days’ estimated gestational age (EGA) with headache, lip tingling and several days of difficulty speaking. Physical examination demonstrated bilateral facial weakness in a peripheral distribution, as well as decreased corneal reflexes and cervical lymphadenopathy. Routine fourth generation HIV screening had previously been negative at 14 and 28 weeks’ EGA. Brain MRI was unremarkable, and lumbar puncture disclosed a low-grade, mononuclear cerebrospinal fluid pleocytosis; the patient was treated supportively. She returned for induction of labour at 39 weeks, at which time HIV infection was unexpectedly diagnosed. While unilateral idiopathic peripheral facial paralysis is associated with the third trimester of pregnancy and the early postpartum period, bilateral facial paralysis is rare and should prompt work-up for an underlying systemic cause, such as HIV infection.

  • HIV / AIDS
  • cranial nerves
  • infection (neurology)
  • pregnancy

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Contributors ATL conceived of the work, collected data and revised the manuscript. NBG collected data, assisted in consenting the patient and revised the manuscript. BWJ conceived of the work, collected data, consented the patient and revised the work critically for intellectual content.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.