Combined hyperactive dysfunction syndrome of the cranial nerves: trigeminal neuralgia, hemifacial spasm, and glossopharyngeal neuralgia: 11-year experience and review

H Kobata, A Kondo, K Iwasaki, T Nishioka
Neurosurgery 1998, 43 (6): 1351-61; discussion 1361-2

OBJECTIVE: A pathological condition caused by vascular compression at the root entry/exit zone of the cranial nerves is designated hyperactive dysfunction syndrome (HDS) of the cranial nerves. Patients with HDS who exhibited a combination of trigeminal neuralgia (TN), hemifacial spasm (HFS), and/or glossopharyngeal neuralgia were retrospectively reviewed, to study the incidence, etiological factors, and demographic characteristics for this combined HDS group.

METHODS: Medical and surgical records were analyzed for 41 patients with combined HDS, of 1472 consecutive patients with HDS who were treated between 1984 and 1994.

RESULTS: The combined HDS group accounted for 2.8% of all patients with HDS; 19 patients (1.3%) exhibited bilateral symptoms, i.e., 14 cases of TN, 3 of combined TN and HFS, and 2 of HFS. Twenty-two patients (1.5%) exhibited ipsilateral symptoms, i.e., 19 cases of TN and HFS and 3 of TN and glossopharyngeal neuralgia. Excluding three patients whose symptoms were associated with brain tumors or arteriovenous malformations, this patient group was older (63.2 versus 55.3 yr, P = 0.0009) and exhibited an increased percentage of associated hypertension (47.4 versus 17.5%, P = 0.000008), with a female predominance (86.8 versus 71.3%, P = 0.07), compared with the single HDS group. Thirty-six of these patients underwent a total of 61 microvascular decompression procedures, with favorable outcomes. The offending vessels were similar to those in single HDS, which were usually conventional and multiple.

CONCLUSION: The associated etiological factors for vascular compression syndromes were more evident in the combined HDS group than in the single HDS group. Progressive arteriosclerotic vasculoarchitectural changes of the vertebrobasilar system, accelerated by aging and hypertension, bring about the development of combined HDS, with a remarkable female predominance.

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