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Vocal cord paralysis associated with Ramsay Hunt syndrome: looking back 50 years
  1. Eva Rye Rasmussen1,
  2. Kristianna Mey2
  1. 1Department of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Koege Hospital, Koege, Denmark
  2. 2Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, University Hospital of Copenhagen and Gentofte, Hellerup, Denmark
  1. Correspondence to Dr Eva Rye Rasmussen, eva.rye.rasmussen{at}


Ramsay Hunt syndrome is defined by herpes zoster oticus and peripheral facial nerve palsy which is often associated with otalgia. The syndrome is, in rare cases, associated with other cranial nerve paralyses including the vagal nerve causing unilateral vocal cord paralysis. Vocal cord paralysis is more often seen as a symptom of various other diseases, that is, malignant tumours, neurodegenerative illness, cerebrovascular assaults, inflammatory processes or as a result of intubation or surgical procedures. The symptoms of unilateral vocal cord paralysis are mainly hoarseness, dyspnoea and dysphagia. We present a case of Ramsay Hunt syndrome combined with unilateral hearing loss and left vocal cord paralysis. The patient underwent MRI, CT and a lumbar puncture causing anxiety in the patient and delaying the initiation of antiviral and anti-inflammatory treatment, which is only efficient when initiated within 72 h. We hope to raise the awareness of this disease.

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