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Variants and Mimics of Guillain Barre Syndrome. *

Background: The clinical and pathologic spectrum of Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS) has expanded to include both demyelinating and axon loss forms. GBS may also have atypical presentations. For these reasons, clinicians are more likely to overlook unrelated disorders that mimic GBS.

Review Summary: In this article, the classic presentation and variants of GBS are briefly reviewed. Disorders that mimic GBS are reviewed in detail, including those caused by neurotoxins, heavy metals, chemical toxins, drugs, vasculitis, hereditary disorders, infections, critical illness, and myelopathy. Illustrative case studies accompany a number of the descriptions.

Conclusions: Failure to recognize the mimics of GBS can lead to erroneous diagnosis, inappropriate treatment, and significant morbidity. Appropriate diagnosis requires a combination of careful history and examination, and accurate interpretation of diagnostic testing.

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THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEBSITE IS OFFERED FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT IMPLY OR GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE. No Doctor/Patient relationship shall be deemed to have arisen simply by reading the information contained on these pages, and you should consult with your personal physician/care giver regarding your medical treatment before undergoing any sort of treatment or therapy.

Published on 10-06-2008
Authors: Levin, Kerry H. MD
Source: Neurologist. 10(2),:61-74, March 2004.