Revue Neurologique (Paris)
2024 May 23:S0035-3787(24)00523-X. doi: 10.1016/j.neurol.2024.03.014. Online ahead of print.

Z PoulletS RedonR Gravier-DumonceauA Donnet


Objective: The aim of this descriptive study was to propose diagnostic criteria for acute exacerbation of trigeminal neuralgia (TN) based on the analysis of retrospective cases.

Background: TN is a rare and extremely painful condition whose evolution can be punctuated by major exacerbations, leading to significant functional impairment. Several denominations are used for these exacerbations: “acute exacerbation”, “status of trigeminal neuralgia”, and “status trigeminus”. There is currently no clinical definition of this state. In this manuscript, we used the term “status trigeminal neuralgia” (STN).

Methods: We conducted a retrospective study, in a tertiary care specialist headache center, in France. Patients were selected from January 2015 to October 2022, with the French translation of the keyword “STN”, in the medical records (outpatients) or the codage for trigeminal neuralgia (inpatients). Additional cases of STN were prospectively recruited from October 2022 to February 2023. We analyzed the clinical and paraclinical data of these patients.

Results: Thirty-nine patients presenting with STN were included. There was a preponderance of women (64%) with 24 cases of classic TN (62%) and 15 cases of secondary TN (38%). Concerning STN, 39 episodes were described. Pain was very severe in all patients. Cranial autonomic signs were present in 23% of cases. Pain extended beyond the usual territory in 44% of cases. A continuous pain background was present in 35% of cases. With regard to triggering factors, paroxysms of facial pain were triggered by eating (97% of patients), speaking (90%) or drinking (62% of patients). Repercussions on weight, hydration, or mood disorders were observed in 67%, 56% and 59% of the cases, respectively.

Conclusion: STN is a rare clinical presentation of TN. We proposed criteria and a new denomination for this condition.

Keywords: Acute exacerbation; Balloon compression; Classical trigeminal neuralgia; Idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia; Secondary trigeminal neuralgia; Status trigeminus.

“Status trigeminal neuralgia”: Analysis of 39 cases and proposal for diagnostic criteria