Guillain-Barré syndrome, also known as GBS, is a rare neurological condition in which the immune system inadvertently attacks a part of the peripheral nervous system. The peripheral nervous system is the network of nerves that are located outside of the brain and spinal cord. The severity of GBS can range from a very mild disease in which the patient experiences transient weakness to a devastating case in which the patient is unable to breathe on their own and require ventilatory support Fortunately, even many severe cases of GBS can cured with timely neurological intervention & treatment.
GBS is a rapidly progressive disease and clinical conditions may worsen over the course of hours, days, or weeks to the point where the affected person is almost completely paralyzed. It poses a significant risk to the patient’s life because it may impede breathing and causes severe fluctuation in blood pressure and heart rate.
Causes of GBS
This is usually triggered by a viral or bacterial infection. Viral or bacterial proteins cause dysregulation of the immune system which in turn attacks our own nerve leading to GBS.
Symptoms of Guillain Barre Syndrome
- Weakness in muscles that usually starts in the feet and moves to the upper part of the body
- Difficulty in breathing
- Facial weakness
- Tingling or numbness sensations in the hands or feet
- Difficulty with swallowing, speaking, or chewing
- Abnormal heartbeat/rate or blood pressure
Treatment and Management of Guillain Barre Syndrome
Patients with GBS need hospitalization and intensive care, we have 2 treatment options available which arrest the immunological attack on our nerves and lead to fast recovery from this condition. They include
Intravenous Immunoglobulin Therapy (IVIG): This treatment involves the infusion of pooled antibodies into the body. Which helps in mitigating the immunological attack on the nervous system.
Plasma Exchange (Plasmapheresis): This procedure involves filtering the plasma. The antibodies that are attacking the nerves are taken out during this filtering procedure, this assists in halting the immune system’s attack on the nerves.
These treatments can help reduce the severity and duration of the illness and a neuro-rehabilitation program helps in speedy recovery.