Share this Article
Charn TC, Subramaniam S, Yuen HW
Correspondence: Dr Yuen Heng Wai, heng _wai_ email@example.com
Introduction Bell’s palsy is a well-recognised disease with robust research on its possible aetiologies and epidemiology, but scant information on patients’ concerns and concepts regarding the condition is available. We aimed to evaluate the ideas, concerns and expectations of patients with Bell’s palsy in Singapore.
Methods A cross-sectional study was conducted at a single tertiary-care hospital in Singapore. Participants were all patients with newly diagnosed Bell’s palsy referred to the otolaryngology department either from the emergency department or by general practitioners. Participants were given a self-administered questionnaire and their facial nerve palsies were graded by the consultant doctor.
Results A total of 52 patients were recruited, of which 41 were available for analysis. 78.0% of patients were concerned that they were having a stroke upon presentation of the symptoms. Other beliefs about the cause of the disease included overwork or stress (36.6%), something that the patient had eaten (9.8%) and supernatural forces (2.4%). About 50% of patients had tried some form of complementary or alternative therapy other than the steroids/medicines prescribed by their general practitioner or emergency physician. While 39.0% of patients agreed that the Internet had helped them understand more about their condition in addition to the information provided by the physician, 9.8% of them specifically disagreed with this statement.
Conclusion We have found that patients with Bell’s palsy in Singapore are not very knowledgeable about the disease. Although the Internet is a useful resource, a physician’s explanation of the disease and its natural progression remains of utmost importance.
Keywords: Bell’s palsy, concerns, expectations, ideas
Singapore Med J 2013; 54(2): 82–85; http://dx.doi.org/10.11622/smedj.2013029
| 1. Berg T, Marsk E, Engström M, et al. The effect of study design and analysis methods on recovery rates in Bell's palsy. Laryngoscope 2009; 119:2046-50. |
| 2. Quant EC, Jeste SS, Muni RH, et al. The benefits of steroids versus steroids plus antivirals for treatment of Bell's palsy: a meta-analysis. BMJ 2009; 339:b3354. |
| 3. Madhok V, Falk G, Fahey T, Sullivan FM. Prescribe prednisolone alone for Bell's palsy diagnosed within 72 hours of symptom onset. BMJ 2009; 338:b255. |
| 4. Holland NJ, Weiner GM. Recent developments in Bell's palsy. BMJ 2004; 329:553-7. |
| 5. Numthavaj P, Thakkinstian A, Dejthevaporn C, Attia J. Corticosteroid and antiviral therapy for Bell's palsy: a network meta-analysis. BMC Neurol 2011; 11:1. |
|6. Salinas RA, Alvarez G, Daly F, Ferreira J. Corticosteroids for Bell's palsy (idiopathic facial paralysis). Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2010 17; (3):CD001942.|
| 7. Thaera GM, Wellik KE, Barrs DM, et al. Are corticosteroid and antiviral treatments effective for bell palsy? A critically appraised topic. Neurologist 2010; 16:138-40. |
|8. May M, Croxson GR, Klein SR. Bell's palsy: management of sequelae using EMG rehabilitation, botulinum toxin, and surgery. Am J Otol 1989; 10:220-9.|
|9. Bagchi G, Nath DK. Restoration of facial symmetry in a patient with bell palsy using a modified maxillary complete denture: a case report. Int J Prosthodont 2012; 25:290-3.|
| 10. Sugiura M, Niina R, Ikeda M, et al. [An assessment of psychological stress in patients with facial palsy]. Nippon Jibiinkoka Gakkai Kaiho 2003; 106:491-8. Japanese. |
| 11. Huang B, Xu S, Xiong J, et al. Psychological factors are closely associated with the Bell's palsy: A case-control study. J Huazhong Univ Sci Technolog Med Sci 2012; 32:272-9. |
| 12. Venketasubramanian N, Tan LC, Sahadevan S, et al. Prevalence of stroke among Chinese, Malay, and Indian Singaporeans: a community-based triracial cross-sectional survey. Stroke 2005; 36:551-6. |
|13. Liang F, Li Y, Yu S at al. A multicentral randomized control study on clinical acupuncture treatment of Bell's palsy. J Tradit Chin Med 2006; 26:3-7.|
|14. Chen N, Zhou M, He L, Zhou D, Li N. Acupuncture for Bell's palsy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2010; (8):CD002914|
| 15. Kim JI, Lee MS, Choi TY, Lee H, Kwon HJ. Acupuncture for Bell's palsy: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Chin J Integr Med 2012; 18:48-55. |
| 16. Cao H, Li X, Liu J. An updated review of the efficacy of cupping therapy. PLoS One 2012; 7:e31793. Epub 2012 Feb 28. |