GUILLAIN BARRE SYNDROME
Dr Ira Shah
Consultant Pediatrician, Nanavati Hospital and B.J.Wadia Hospital for Children, Mumbai
Editor - Pediatric Oncall
What is Guillian Barre Syndrome?
Guillian Barre (pronounced as Gee-a-bar-e) syndrome is one of the causes of paralysis of both legs and hands of the body. It is also called as GBS.
Why does GBS occur?
GBS occurs due to abnormal reaction of our own body?s immune system whereby the body?s immune system attacks the myelin (covering on the nerves) and thus leads to improper functioning of the nerves and thus weakness.
What are the symptoms of GBS?
Children will initially have acute leg pain and stiffness. Child will refuse to walk and starts limping. Gradually weakness progresses rapidly in 2-4 weeks and there is inability to move both upper and lower limbs and there may also be difficulty in eating and there may be nasal twang to the voice. In very severe cases, there may be difficulty in breathing due to involvement of the respiratory muscles also.
How is the diagnosis of GBS made?
Doctor may suspect GBS on clinical evaluation. However other conditions such as poliomyelitis may also mimic similar symptoms and thus doctor may advice certain tests. These include nerve conduction velocity study (NCV) and even analysis of elevated protein content in the brain fluid (cerebrospinal fluid).
What is the treatment of GBS?
Treatment of GBS consists of support to respiration. If there is difficulty in breathing, child may require ventilatory support ? specific treatment in form of immunoglobulin (IVIG) may be given. In some centers, plasma exchange in form of plasmapheresis is done to remove abnormal circulating immune complexes.
What is the outcome of patients with GBS?
Patients with Guillian Barre syndrome usually recover on their own. Recovery is faster when treated with IVIG or plasmapheresis.
Last updated on 26-1-2011