BiPAP in early guillain-barré syndrome may fail

Can J Neurol Sci. 2006 Feb;33(1):105-6. doi: 10.1017/s0317167100004790.


Background: Non-invasive mechanical ventilation (BiPAP) has been introduced for use in neuromuscular respiratory disease such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and myasthenia gravis. There is no experience in Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Methods: We describe for the first time the use of BiPAP to assist in the work of breathing in two consecutive patients with progressing Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) and marginal pulmonary function.

Results: Our initial attempts to use BiPAP in GBS and early neuromuscular respiratory failure were totally unsuccessful. There was marked initial improvement; however, emergency intubation was needed in both patients, one of which became acutely cyanotic.

Conclusions: Until more experience is available, we strongly warn against using BiPAP in deteriorating patients with GBS.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / complications
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Intubation, Intratracheal
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration*
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / etiology
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / therapy
  • Treatment Failure