Recurrent Guillain Barre' Syndrome: a clinical, electrophysiological and morphological study

J Assoc Physicians India. 1995 Apr;43(4):249-52.


Of the 220 patients of acute idiopathic demyelinating polyneuritis (AIDP/GBS) seen over a seven year period, 15 patients (M:F:11:4) had a relapsing course (6.8%). Their ages ranged from 8 yrs to 70 yrs. They had 36 episodes at a variable interval of 3 months to 25 yrs. Relapse rate varied from one to four. Antecedent events were noted during 16 episodes in 9 patients but the triggering factors were varied. Clinical features of individual episodes were similar to the acute monophasic illness, although they differed inseverity from one episode to the other. Autonomic disturbances were rare. Albuminocytological dissociation was observed during 19 of the 24 episodes. Electrophysiological abnormalities were observed during 19 of the 24 episodes. Electrophysiological abnormalities were present in all and were comparable with patients of non-recurrent illness. Sural nerve biopsy in 3 patients showed evidence of demyelination, remyelination, Wallerian degeneration and myelin breakdown but none had features of inflammation. With the exception of one death, functional recovery was complete in the majority of patients, irrespective of the type of therapeutic intervention. Acute onset, frequent facial involvement, brief clinical course, near complete recovery and very long asymptomatic periods may distinguish these patients of acute relapsing demyelinating polyneuropathy (ARDP) from chronic relapsing demyelinating polyneuropathy. Relapses in GBS are however unpredictable and recurrent GBS is indistinguishable clinically, electrophysiologically and morphologically from the more frequently seen non-recurrent form of monophasic GB Syndrome. A biochemical or immunological marker may help in this distinction.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Electrophysiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polyradiculoneuropathy / diagnosis*
  • Polyradiculoneuropathy / pathology
  • Polyradiculoneuropathy / physiopathology
  • Recurrence
  • Sural Nerve / pathology