What is Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, Causes and Symptoms of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

  • Posted on- May 16, 2018
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Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

Ramsay Hunt Syndrome is an acute peripheral neuropathy that commonly affects the facial nerves and the internal ear canal functions. This disease is also known as the Hunt’s Syndrome which consists of erythematous vesicular rashes. It is a kind of herpes zoster that is usually caused by the Herpes Zoster virus.

Causes of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

The common causes of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome are the following reasons:

  • Suppressed immune system
  • Exposure to Chickenpox varicella
  • HIV patients who are exposed with Chickenpox
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Damage in the facial nerve endings
  • Infections and sepsis

Diagnosis & Tests related to Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

Regular tests and examination are done to determine and diagnose ramsay hunt syndrome. The following laboratory studies are done:

  • PCR test or polymerase chain reaction
  • Blood tests for varicella zoster virus – The blood is being extracted and test for any possible multiplication of viruses in the blood.
  • Electromyography (EMG)
  • Lumbar puncture – If there are damaged nerve endings and problem affecting the brain waves and activities, it is used.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the head – To tests and see an image of possible injuries and scarring on the neurons and brain linings.
  • Nerve conduction (to determine the amount of damage to the facial nerve)
  • Skin tests for varicella zoster virus


Signs & Symptoms of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

Some of the signs & symptoms of ramsay hunt syndrome include:

  • Vesicular rash of the ear or mouth
  • Facial paralysis
  • Ipsilateral lower motor neuron facial paresis/palsy
  • Vertigo and ipsilateral hearing loss (CN VII)
  • Dizziness or tinnitus
  • Otalgia or ear pain
  • Headaches
  • Issue in understanding words and delivering speeches or dysarthria
  • Gait ataxia or staggering gait
  • Fever
  • Cervical adenopathy


Treatment for Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

The patient who suffers from Ramsay Hunt’s Syndrome usually takes tons and series of medications to palate and recovers from the signs and symptoms.

Medications & Drugs

Corticosteroids and oral acyclovir – This drug can be used in the treatment of Ramsay Hunt syndrome.

  • Alacyclovir
  • Famciclovir
  • Vestibular suppressants can be helpful if vestibular symptoms are major.
  • Carbamazepine – Treating the idiopathic geniculate neuralgia.
  • Analgesics and painkillers
  • Anti-viral medications
  • Anti-seizure medications

If possible movement is affected, the patient can also undergo series of physical therapy to assist and aid in the activities of daily living (ADLs) of the patient.


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