Clinically diagnosed Guillain-Barre syndrome in Ile-Ife, Nigeria

T A Sunmonu, M A Komolafe, A Adewuya, A A Olugbodi
West African Journal of Medicine 2008, 27 (3): 167-70

BACKGROUND: Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS) is a neurological disorder that poses a great challenge to medical care. It affects all age groups, gender and socio-economic groups.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the pattern of clinical presentation as well as the factors that determine morbidity and mortality in Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS) patients.

METHODS: The case records of all the patients with diagnosis of GBS from 1988-2005 were retrieved. Socio-demographic, clinical data and laboratory investigations were collated.

RESULTS: There were a total of 14 patients managed during this period, which comprised seven males and seven females. The mean(SD) age was 23.6 (13.3) years. Nine (64.3%) patients were students, only one (8%) patient was a professional and the rest 4 (36%) were artisans. Five (36%) patients presented with weakness of both upper and lower limbs while another five (36%) patients presented with weakness of the lower limbs only and four (28%) patients had bulbar symptoms in addition to weakness of the upper and lower limbs. The most common prodromal symptoms were headache, fever and joint pains. The common symptoms at presentation were excessive sweating paraesthesia (43%), urinary hesitancy and retention (35%). Physical findings include Flaccid quadriparesis 13 (93%), autonomic dysfunction 9 (64.3%), sensory impairment (71.4%) and cranial neuropathies 6 (43.5%). Albuminocytological dissociation was present in the cerebrospinal fluid of five (56%) of nine patients who had lumbar puncture done and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) was elevated in five patients (38%). The sex, age presenting complaints and treatment given were found not to have correlation with clinical outcome. The pattern of motor paresis and the nature of discharge patient had were significantly correlated with clinical outcome.

CONCLUSION: Guillain Barre syndrome present impotant challenge to medical care in Nigeria and it is hoped that this study would sensitize clinicians to the clinical burden of Guillain Barre syndrome among Nigerians.

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