Cranial Nerve Disorders
Because the brain stem and cranial nerves involve vital motor, sensory, or autonomic functions of the body, these nerves may be affected by conditions arising primarily within these structures or in secondary extension from adjacent disease processes. The cra-nial nerves (Fig. 64-6) are examined separately and in sequence. Some cranial nerve deficits can be detected by ob-serving the patient’s face, eye movements, speech, and swallow-ing. Electromyography (EMG) is used to investigate motor and sensory dysfunction. MRI is used to obtain images of the cranial nerves and brain stem. An overview of disorders that may affect each of the cranial nerves, including clinical manifestations and nursing interventions, is presented in Table 64-1. The following discussion centers on trigeminal neuralgia, a condition affecting the fifth cranial nerve, and Bell’s palsy, caused by involvement of the seventh cranial nerve. These are the most common disorders of the cranial nerves.
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