Third Cranial Nerve Palsy in Sphenoid Sinusitis

Luís Almeida Dores, Marco Alveirinho Simão, Marta Canas Marques, Óscar Dias


Sphenoid sinus disease is particular not only for its clinical presentation, as well as their complications. Although rare, these may present as cranial nerve deficits, so it is important to have a high index of suspicion and be familiar with its diagnosis and management. Symptoms are often nonspecific, but the most common are headache, changes in visual acuity and diplopia due to dysfunction of one or more ocular motor nerves. The authors report a case of a 59 years-old male, who was referred to the ENT emergency department with frontal headaches for one week which had progressively worsened and were associated, since the last 12 hours, with diplopia caused by left third cranial nerve palsy. Neurologic examination was normal aside from the left third cranial nerve palsy. Anterior and posterior rhinoscopy excluded the presence of nasal masses and purulent rhinorrhea. The CT scan revealed a soft tissue component and erosion of the roof of the left sphenoid sinus. Patient was admitted for intravenous antibiotics and steroids treatment without any benefit after 48 hours. He was submitted to endoscopic sinus surgery with resolution of the symptoms 10 days after surgery. The authors present this case for its rarity focusing on the importance of differential diagnosis in patients with headaches and cranial nerves palsies.
Keywords: Sphenoid Sinusitis; Oculomotor Nerve Diseases.

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