[Guillain Barré syndrome in pediatrics]

Ricardo Erazo Torricelli
Medicina 2009, 69 (1 Pt 1): 84-91
This paper reviews the current knowledge about Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). GBS is defined as an acute, areflexic, flaccid paralysis, which is classified into 4 subgroups: acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (AIDP), acute motor-sensory axonal neuropathy (AMSAN), acute motor axonal neuropathy (AMAN) and Miller-Fisher syndrome (MFS). AIDP is associated in 30-50% of cases with cranial nerve involvement, which is not observed in AMAN. MFS is characterized by ataxia, ophthalmoplegia and areflexia, but it may also present cranial nerve dysfunction. Recent data on the pathology and pathophysiology of GBS emphasize the important role of Campylobacter jejuni infection in generating anti-ganglioside antibodies (GM1 in AIDP, GQ1b in MFS and GD1a in AMAN), which damage myelin in AIDP and MFS and axons in AMAN. The differential diagnosis must rule out other disorders of the central nervous system (encephalitis, encephalomyelitis, myelitis), myasthenic syndromes, toxic neuropathies induced by heavy meals, drugs, chemical substances or animal toxins, and myopathic conditions, especially acute benign infectious myositis and neuromyopathy of the intensive care unit patient. It is important the treatment with immune globulin, at a total dose of 2 grams per kilogram administered over 48 hours. Plasmapheresis can be equally effective. GBS has a good prognosis in children with a total recovery in 85% of cases. Rehabilitation is crucial to attain a more rapid and global improvement.


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