Guillain-Barre Syndrome

Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) is also known as acute idiopathic polyneuritis, infectious polyneuritis, acute inflammatory polyneuropathy, and acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy. GBS is a rare autoimmune disorder that affects the nerves specifically. Nerves that are normal, healthy, and functioning are covered with a fatty sheath called myelin that increases the speed at which nerve impulses travel. The myelin sheath also helps protect the nerve. Demyelination of nerves in GBS can occur quickly- in as little as a few days. The damage and degeneration often is noticed as symptoms that begin in the extremities. The legs are the most common place for the symptoms to start. Neuropathy can, however, affect any limb, or nerves within the skull and usually begins to work its way toward the body’s core where it can have devastating effects on involuntary functions of the body such as breathing and digestion. GBS can be in the acute phase for weeks, where its victims often require hospitalization (up to a third of patients with GBS) and assistance with breathing. GBS acute phase goes into remission after a few weeks.

Infectious agents are thought to stimulate GBS autoimmune problems in certain people. The infectious agents implicated are Epstein-Barr virus, Campylobacter jejun, Mycoplasma, Cytomegalovirus, and the varicella-zoster virus. A complication of GBS can be extended paralysis. Symptoms of GBS include:

  • Autoimmune nerve problems can lead to the following autonomic problems with heart palpitations, heart rate, blood pressure, fainting, breathing difficulties, and difficulty swallowing.
  • Clumsiness, incoordination
  • Hypotension
  • Loss of reflexes in arms and legs
  • Muscle weakness, pain and tenderness (myalgia)
  • Numbness
  • Ascending paralysis (weakness in muscle tissue and lof function that starts in the legs and spreads upwards)
  • Tingling sensations (another nerve symptom)

Risk factors for developing GBS include:

  • Age range from thirty to fifty
  • Prior infection, or surgery
  • Vaccination adverse response
  • May occur in conjunction with the following viruses, Herpes simplex, mononucleosis, or HIV/AIDS
  • People with lupus are more susceptible to developing GBS
  • People with Hodgkin’s disease are more susceptible to developing GBS

If you or a loved one suffered a complication or worsening of your condition due to a misdiagnosis of Guillain-Barre syndrome, or a failure to diagnose it, you could be eligible for damages. Contact the Sweeney Law Firm and let our experts review the facts to see if you have a misdiagnosis medical malpractice case. There is no fee for representation unless a settlement or recovery of funds is made on your behalf.