Guillain-barre Syndrome

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Other Names :  

Landry’s paralysis or Guillain-Barré-Strohl syndrome

What is Guillain-barre Syndrome ?  

Guillain-Barré syndrome is a disorder affecting the peripheral nervous system, an acute polyneuropathy. The protective covering of the nerves, called myelin, is damaged.The disorder starts with weakness in the feet and hands, slowly progressing towards the trunk, and paralyzing the whole body. Dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system is also seen. Life-threatening complications can also occur.

Three types of Guillain-Barre syndromes are Acute inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy, Miller Fisher Syndrome, Acute motor axonal neuropathy/Acute motor-sensory axonal neuropathy

Cause(s) :  
  • Triggered by an infection, usually respiratory infection and flu
Symptoms :  
  • Sensations of pricking, “pins and needles” in fingers, wrists, toes, ankles
  • Weakness at extremities, spreading towards the trunk
  • Unsteady gait, difficulty in climbing stairs
  • Facial and eye movements are impaired, affecting speech, chewing or swallowing (drooling of saliva)
  • Eye movement abnormalities, especially in Miller Fisher variant
  • Severe pain, cramps, worsening at night
  • Impaired bladder and bowel function
  • Fluctuating blood pressure
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Loss of sensation of movement (proprioception)
  • Loss of deep tendon reflexes
Diagnosis and Tests :  Physical examination:
  • Progressive weakness in legs and arms
  • Lack of deep tendon reflexes
  • Bilateral weakness of facial muscles


Tests
  • White blood cell count
  • Lumbar puncture and Cerebrospinal fluid analysis
  • Electromyography (muscle function)
  • Nerve conduction studies
Specialist to consult :  Neurology

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