Which patients are at increased risk for Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS)-related death?

Updated: May 04, 2018
  • Author: Michael T Andary, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Milton J Klein, DO, MBA  more...
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Answer

GBS-associated mortality rates increase markedly with age. In the United States, the case-fatality ratio ranges from 0.7% in persons younger than 15 years to 8.6% in individuals older than 65 years. Survey data has shown that in patients aged 60 years or older, the risk of death is 6-fold that of persons aged 40-59 years and is 157-fold that of patients younger than 15 years. Although the death rate increases with age in males and females, after age 40 years males have a death rate that is 1.3 times greater than that of females.

GBS-related deaths usually occur in ventilator-dependent patients, resulting from such complications as pneumonia, sepsis, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and, less frequently, autonomic dysfunction. [77] Underlying pulmonary disease and the need for mechanical ventilation increase the risk of death, especially in elderly patients.


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