When should patients diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) be admitted to a hospital?

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

Patients who are diagnosed with GBS should be admitted to a hospital for close monitoring until it has been determined that the course of the disease has reached a plateau or undergone reversal. Although the weakness may initially be mild and nondisabling, symptoms can progress rapidly over just a few days. Continued progression may result in a neuromuscular emergency with profound paralysis, respiratory insufficiency, and/or autonomic dysfunction with cardiovascular complications.

Approximately one third of patients require admission to an ICU, primarily because of respiratory failure. After medical stabilization, patients can be treated on a general medical/neurologic floor, but continued vigilance remains important in preventing respiratory, cardiovascular, and other medical complications. Patients with persistent functional impairments may need to be transferred to an inpatient rehabilitation unit.


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