Guillain-Barré syndrome

Dana L Newswanger, Charles R Warren
American Family Physician 2004 May 15, 69 (10): 2405-10
Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a group of autoimmune syndromes consisting of demyelinating and acute axonal degenerating forms of the disease. Nerve conduction study helps differentiate the heterogeneous subtypes of GBS. Patients exhibit a progressive paralysis that reaches a plateau phase. In most patients, resolution is complete or near complete. Mortality from GBS most often is associated with dysautonomia and mechanical ventilation. GBS usually is associated with an antecedent infection by one of several known pathogens. Cross-reactivity between the pathogen and the nerve tissue sets up the autoimmune response. Treatment consists of supportive care, ventilatory management (in about one third of patients), and specific therapy with intravenous immunoglobulin or plasmapheresis. Consultation with a neurologist is suggested.

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