Clinical variants of Guillain-Barre syndrome: some aspects of differential diagnosis

Georgian Med News. 2009 Jan:(166):48-51.


Acute Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy--Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) affects spinal roots, peripheral and cranial nerves. Various clinical variants of GBS have been described. Isolated cranial nerve involvement without prominent signs of GBS is considered as rare variant of this disease. The aim of the study was to identify clinical characteristics of various forms of GBS particularly in rare variants of the disease. 57 patients with GBS were evaluated based on clinical and electrophysiological data. The following forms of GBS were revealed: 27 had acute inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy, 9--acute motor axonal neuropathy, 12--acute motor and sensory axonal neuropathy, 5--Fisher syndrome and 3--facial diplegia (rare clinical variant). 50 patients were graded 3 or more according to Hughes functional grading scale. Seasonal preponderance was found in spring (March-May) and autumn (September-November). 23 patients received IVIG and 34 were treated by plasma exchange within two weeks after onset. Follow up study revealed: 46 recovered satisfactory, 8 were persistently disabled, 3 died during admission to hospital. Guillain-Barre syndrome showed seasonal distribution and high frequency of axonal forms. Intravenous immunoglobulin therapy was more effective than plasma exchange. Poor outcomes were likely due to severe condition (required mechanical ventilation) and axonal forms. It is crucial to timely identify rare variants of GBS which recover with appropriate treatment.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Axons
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Disease Progression
  • Electromyography / methods*
  • Exercise Test / methods
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / administration & dosage*
  • Immunologic Factors / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / innervation
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Prognosis
  • Time Factors


  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous
  • Immunologic Factors