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Publication Detail
Changes in the severity and subtype of Guillain-Barré syndrome admitted to a specialist Neuromedical ICU over a 25 year period.
We report a retrospective review of 110 patients with acute Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) admitted to a specialised intensive care unit (ICU) in a tertiary referral centre over a 25 year period, the start of which coincided with the widespread introduction of plasma exchange (PE) and intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG). The results were analysed by comparing 52 patients admitted in the first decade (1991-2000; Group 1) with 58 patients admitted between 2001-2014 (Group 2). Patients in both groups were comparable with respect to age and sex, and had a similar incidence and range of ICU complications. They received a comparable range of immunomodulatory treatments including IVIG and PE. However, the delay from presentation to referral to the tertiary ICU was longer in patients in Group 2. They also required mechanical ventilation for a longer duration, and had longer ICU and hospital stays. In Group 2, there was a higher incidence of axonal neuropathy (51%, compared to 24% in Group 1). Despite the longer delay to referral, the prevalence of axonal neuropathy and the duration of ventilation, overall mortality showed a downward trend (Group 1: 13.5%; Group 2: 5.2%). There was no late mortality in either group after step-down to neuro-rehabilitation or following discharge home or to the referring hospital. The rehabilitation outcomes were similar. This data show a shift in the pattern of referral to a tertiary referral ICU between the first and second decades following the wider availability of IVIG and PE for the treatment of GBS. The possible causes and implications of these findings are discussed.
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