Cranial nerve involvement in systemic sclerosis (scleroderma): a report of 10 cases

Medicine (Baltimore). 1980 Mar;59(2):149-59. doi: 10.1097/00005792-198003000-00006.


Ten patients with the diagnosis of systemic sclerosis developed cranial nerve involvement. A trigeminal sensory neuropathy evolved insidiously in all patients and in five of these it was a presenting complaint. The glossopharyngeal nerve was involved in one patient. Taste was impaired in one patient and a unilateral loss of taste with fasciculations of the tongue were noted in another. Tinnitus was a complaint in three patients, two of whom had bilateral impairment of hearing. Facial weakness was noted in five patients. In three, this weakness was bilateral, while in the others the weakness was unilateral, and a past history of acute onset was obtained. The microangiopathy of systemic sclerosis is felt to be primarily responsible for these neurological deficits. The deposition of fibrous tissue may be a secondary phenomenon and contribute to the process by compression of nerves.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ageusia / etiology
  • Cranial Nerves*
  • Facial Paralysis / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypesthesia / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / etiology
  • Peristalsis
  • Raynaud Disease / etiology
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / complications*
  • Tinnitus / etiology
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia / etiology