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Misbahuddin Khaja, Gabriella P. Roa Gomez, Yaneidy Santana, Nolberto Hernandez, Asim Haider, Jose Luis Perez Lara, Rene Elkin
(Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, BronxCare Health System Affiliated with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Bronx, NY, USA)
Am J Case Rep 2020; 21:e927956
This case report is of a patient who presented with loss of taste and facial weakness and was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) and Bell’s palsy, associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. GBS is a neurological emergency defined as acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy. The patient responded to intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) treatment.
CASE REPORT: We present the case of a 44-year-old Hispanic man who came for evaluation of bilateral facial weakness and lack of taste sensation. He had lower motor neuron facial weakness. His head computed tomography and brain magnetic resonance imaging scans did not show any pathological abnormalities. He tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 by a nasopharyngeal swab reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis via lumbar puncture revealed elevated protein levels, no leukocytes, and a negative Gram stain. The CSF RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 was negative. PCR tests of the CSF for other viral infections were negative. A diagnosis of GBS was made, and he was treated successfully with IVIG. After the fourth dose of IVIG, the patient was able to close his eyes, frown, show his teeth, and smile.
CONCLUSIONS: Our case is rare because the patient did not present with lower extremity weakness, but only with bilateral Bell’s palsy. Physicians should be aware of GBS because it is a neurological emergency for which COVID-19 can be a risk factor. Early diagnosis and treatment of GBS can prevent neurological disability.