What respiratory therapy is necessary for Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) in the ICU?

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

Approximately one third of patients with GBS require ventilatory support. Monitoring for respiratory failure, bulbar weakness, and difficulties with swallowing help to anticipate complications. Proper positioning of the patient to optimize lung expansion and secretion management for airway clearance is required to minimize respiratory complications.

Serial assessment of ventilatory status is needed, including measurements of vital capacity and pulse oximetric monitoring. Respiratory assistance should be considered when the expiratory vital capacity decreases to less than 18 mL/kg or when a decrease in oxygen saturation is noted (arterial PO2< 70 mm Hg). Tracheotomy may be required in a patient with prolonged respiratory failure, especially if mechanical ventilation is required for more than 2 weeks.


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