Am J Perinatol 2004; 21(3): 153-155
DOI: 10.1055/s-2004-823774
Copyright © 2004 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Severe Preeclampsia Presenting as Third Nerve Palsy

Robert G. Bonebrake1 , Alfred D. Fleming1 , Eva M. Carignan1 , Diana K. Hoover1
  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Creighton University Medical Center/Bergan Mercy Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska
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Publication History

Publication Date:
14 April 2004 (online)

Preeclampsia is a common complication of pregnancy and often manifests in severe cases with neurological symptoms. We present the first documented case of preeclampsia associated with third nerve palsy. A 19-year-old primigravida presented at 31 2/7 weeks' gestation with preeclampsia. In addition to classic preeclampsia symptoms, the patient had atypical visual disturbances. Exhaustive neurological and ophthalmological examinations revealed a third nerve palsy with no etiology other than preeclampsia. Deteriorating renal function necessitated preterm delivery. She ultimately underwent a cesarean section. Two months postpartum, the patient has shown complete spontaneous resolution of third nerve palsy. In this case of severe preeclampsia manifested by third nerve palsy, we hypothesize that the mechanism is attributed to vasospasm of the vessels supplying the oculomotor nerve.


Robert G Bonebrake, M.D. 

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