Horner’s Syndrome Diagnosis

Horner’s syndrome is a rare disorder that represents about 10-20% of brachial plexus injuries.1 Horner’s syndrome is caused by damage to the sympathetic nervous system which regulates heart rate, pupil size, perspiration and other bodily functions that respond to changes in the environment. Damage to these nerves can be the result of a traumatic or difficult birth. Children with Horner’s syndrome may have a drooping eyelid, a smaller pupil in one eye, and diminished sweat production on a particular side of the face.

Causes of Horner’s Syndrome

Damage to the nerves of the sympathetic nervous system can lead to Horner’s syndrome. While it can be the result of a different medical issue like a stroke or tumor, damaged nerves from a traumatic birth can also be a cause. Horner’s syndrome could be caused by:

  • Neck or shoulder trauma during birth
  • A defect of the aorta
  • A tumor in the neck or chest cavity


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Symptoms of Horner’s Syndrome

Horner’s syndrome usually affects only one side of the face. However, the symptoms can be subtle and therefore difficult to detect. A child with Horner’s syndrome may exhibit some of the following:

  • Lighter iris color in the affected eye in a child under the age of 1
  • Lack of flushing on the affected side of the face which would normally appear from heat, physical exertion, or emotional reactions
  • A smaller pupil of the eye (miosis)
  • Drooping eyelid (ptosis)

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Source List
1 http://www.childrenshospital.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions/b/brachial-plexus-injury