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Ramsay Hunt syndrome with cranial polyneuropathy with features of supraglottitis


A 67-year-old woman presented with a 1-week history of left otalgia and a 1-day history of odynophagia, pain extending into the face and neck, and a productive cough. Flexible nasendoscopy showed features of supraglottitis, with swollen arytenoids and pooling of saliva in the piriform fossae. Laboratory investigations revealed a mildly raised C reactive protein. A CT scan of the neck supported the diagnosis of supraglottitis and pharyngitis, with thickening of the mucosa of the left piriform fossae and left oropharynx. Standard supraglottitis treatment was instigated, but on day 4 of the admission, a vesicular rash and features of cranial nerve involvement (V, VII, VIII, X) developed. A revised diagnosis of Ramsay Hunt syndrome with cranial polyneuropathy was made and later confirmed by varicella zoster virus PCR. After 4 weeks, facial nerve function normalised, but features of other cranial nerve palsies were persistent.

  • cranial nerves
  • otitis
  • otolaryngology / ent

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