Diagnostic and classification criteria for the Guillain-Barré syndrome

Eur Neurol. 2001;45(3):133-9. doi: 10.1159/000052111.


Background: Diagnostic criteria for the Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) have been available since 1978. Since then, several variants have been described. More recently, a distinction has been made between pure motor forms, severe sensory forms, primary axonal and primary demyelinating varieties. Associations of clinical characteristics, and specific infections and the presence of antiganglioside antibodies have been found. For further studies on GBS, it is therefore necessary to reconsider the available diagnostic criteria and add additional criteria for subclassification.

Methods: A panel of (20) experts was formed. The literature representing the recent developments in GBS subclassification was reviewed. Following a consensus protocol, diagnostic and classification criteria were formulated.

Results: The diagnosis of GBS can usually be made on clinical characteristics. A schedule for subclassification has been made to cover also the clinical variants in a systematic manner.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • Campylobacter jejuni / isolation & purification
  • China / epidemiology
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Electromyography
  • Gangliosides / immunology
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / classification*
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / microbiology
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / virology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Miller Fisher Syndrome / classification
  • Miller Fisher Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Netherlands / epidemiology


  • Autoantibodies
  • Gangliosides