Guillain-Barré syndrome in Taiwan: a clinical study of 167 patients

R K Lyu, L M Tang, S Y Cheng, W C Hsu, S T Chen
Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry 1997, 63 (4): 494-500

OBJECTIVE: To identify clinical characteristics of various forms of Guillain-Barré syndrome in Taiwan.

METHODS: The clinical and electrophysiological data of 167 consecutive patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome admitted to Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, a general paediatric and adult hospital in Taiwan, were reviewed.

RESULTS: Analysis of age distribution disclosed a high incidence (21%) among patients under the age of 10 years. Seasonal preponderance in Spring (March to May) was found. Utilizing clinical and electrophysiological data, these 167 patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome were subclassified; 82 (49%) had acute inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (AIDP), 32 (19%) had Fisher syndrome (FS), and six (4%) had axonal forms of Guillain-Barré syndrome. The remaining 47 (28%) patients were unclassified. Patients with AIDP and FS had many common clinical features, including seasonal distribution, history of preceding illness, sensory abnormalities, cranial nerve involvement except for extraocular motor nerves, and albuminocytological dissociation on examination of CSF. Follow up study on 145 patients disclosed that 127 (87%) recovered satisfactorily, 14 (10%) were persistently disabled, and four (3%) died during admission to hospital. Clinical features associated with poor outcome (persistent disability or death) were requirement for mechanical ventilation, a low mean compound muscle action potential amplitude (< or = 10% of the lower limit of normal), and age greater than 40 years.

CONCLUSION: Guillain-Barré syndrome in Taiwan showed a peculiar age and seasonal distribution and a high frequency of FS not seen in other series. Given that patients with AIDP and FS had many common clinical features, AIDP and FS may have similar underlying pathological mechanisms.

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