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Guillain Barré Syndrome

Abstract

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NORD is very grateful to Richard Hughes, MD, Cochrane Neuromuscular Disease Group, MRC Centre for Neuromuscular Disease, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, London, UK, for assistance in the preparation of this report.

Synonyms of Guillain Barré Syndrome

  • acute autoimmune peripheral neuropathy
  • acute immune-mediated polyneuropathy
  • acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
  • acute inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy
  • acute inflammatory neuropathy
  • acute inflammatory polyneuropathy
  • GBS
  • Landry-Guillain-Barre-Strohl syndrome
  • Landry's ascending paralysis
  • post-infective polyneuritis

Disorder Subdivisions

  • acute motor axonal neuropathy
  • acute motor neuropathy with conduction block
  • acute motor-sensory axonal neuropathy

General Discussion

Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a rare, rapidly progressive disorder that consists of inflammation of the nerves (polyneuritis) causing muscle weakness, sometimes progressing to complete paralysis. Although the precise cause of GBS is unknown, a gastrointestinal or respiratory infection precedes the onset of the syndrome in about half of the cases. This has led to the theory that GBS may be an autoimmune disease (caused by the body's own immune system). Damage to the covering (myelin) of nerve axons (the extension of the nerve cell that conducts impulses away from the nerve cell body) results in delayed nerve signal transmission. This causes weakness of the muscles that are supplied by the damaged nerves.

The following variants of GBS are recognized acute inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy, acute motor sensory axonal neuropathy, and acute motor axonal neuropathy.

Organizations related to Guillain Barré Syndrome

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