Sensory Guillain-Barré syndrome and related disorders: an attempt at systematization

Muscle Nerve. 2012 Apr;45(4):464-70. doi: 10.1002/mus.22298.


The possibility that some patients diagnosed with an acute sensory neuropathy could actually have Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) has been repeatedly advanced in the literature, but the number of cases reported is small. The reports have shown different clinical presentations and electrophysiological findings and are variously named, thus generating terminological and nosological confusion. We operatively defined sensory GBS as an acute, monophasic, widespread neuropathy characterized clinically by exclusive sensory symptoms and signs that reach their nadir in a maximum of 6 weeks without related systemic disorders and other diseases or conditions. We reviewed the literature through searches of PubMed from 1980 to March 2011 and our own files. On the basis of the size of fibers involved and the possible site of primary damage, we propose tentatively classifying sensory GBS and related disorders into three subtypes: acute sensory demyelinating polyneuropathy; acute sensory large-fiber axonopathy-ganglionopathy; and acute sensory small-fiber neuropathy-ganglionopathy.

MeSH terms

  • Autonomic Fibers, Preganglionic / pathology
  • Autopsy
  • Axons / pathology
  • Cell Size
  • Demyelinating Diseases / classification
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Ganglia, Sensory / pathology
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / classification*
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / pathology
  • Humans
  • Nerve Fibers / pathology
  • Sensation Disorders / classification
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / pathology*
  • Terminology as Topic