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Guillain-Barré syndrome and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy.

Acute and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathies represent an important group of disorders. Although the acute form is more common, all clinical neurologists will eventually encounter patients with these disorders. Acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, or Guillain-Barré syndrome, is the most common cause of acute generalized weakness. Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, characterized by progressive or relapsing weakness, is important to recognize because it represents a significant number of all initially undiagnosed acquired neuropathies. There are a variety of reasonable therapies available for both of these acquired demyelinating neuropathies. Recently much has been learned about pathogenesis and treatment. This review describes the clinical presentations, laboratory studies, diagnostic criteria, treatment, and prognosis for each disorder.

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