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guillain-barre syndrome

Guillain-Barre syndrome is an uncommon inflammatory disorder in which the body's immune system attacks the nerves, typically causing severe weakness and numbness that usually starts in the extremities and quickly worsens. Eventually the body can become paralyzed, even the muscles used for breathing.


Symptoms may include:


  • weakness, tingling or loss of sensation starting in the feet and legs and spreading to the upper body and arms
  • muscle weakness that can evolve into paralysis
  • difficulty with eye movement, facial movement, speaking, chewing or swallowing
  • severe pain in the lower back
  • difficulty with bladder control or intestinal functions
  • very slow heart rate or low blood pressure
  • difficulty breathing

The exact cause is unknown.


Treatment may include:


  • plasmapheresis (plasma exchange) —  a type of "blood cleansing" where damaging antibodies are removed from the blood
  • intravenous immunoglobulin - contains healthy antibodies from blood donors that can block the damaging antibodies
  • neurology

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    Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton Hamilton. Phone: 609-586-7900 Physician Referral: 609-584-5900.

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