Guillain-Barré Syndrome

Norton Children’s is a leading provider of child neurology care in Louisville, Kentucky, and Southern Indiana. Our board-certified and fellowship-trained child neurologists care for children with Guillain-Barré syndrome.

 

What Is Guillain-Barré Syndrome?

Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a rare disorder that affects the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord, called the peripheral nervous system. GBS can cause:

  • Breathing trouble due to paralysis of the chest muscles
  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Pain
  • Temporary paralysis of the face, eye, chest and limb muscles

 

GBSCauses

The exact cause is unknown. One theory is thatGBS is an autoimmune disorder that can develop after an infection, surgery or trauma. It causes the immune system to attack the peripheral nervous system. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about two-thirds of people who develop GBS experience symptoms days or weeks after being sick with a respiratory infection or diarrhea.

 

GBSSymptoms

Each child experiencesGBS symptoms differently.They can develop quickly andresemble other medical conditions. Common symptoms include:

  • Breathing trouble
  • Facial weakness
  • Irritability
  • Losing feeling or pain in fingers and toes
  • Weakness, tingling and pain in the legs that moves to the arms
  • Trouble walking

 

GBSTreatment

There is no cure for GBS. The condition is reversible, but children diagnosed with GBS may need to be admitted to the hospital for monitoring and care. Most children make a full recovery and are able to return to normal life in a few weeks.

 

Treatment includes supportive care and preventing breathing issues from developing. Treatments may include:

 

  • Breathing machine: Children experiencing severe symptoms may need a breathing machine to help them breathe easier.
  • Plasmapheresis or immunoglobulin administration: These treatments may be used to reduce inflammation and symptoms, and control the attack on the nervous system.
  • Physical, occupational and speech therapy: Children may develop stiff muscles and contracted joints. Therapy can help them regain strength and mobility.

 

 

Link toFlu Shots and Vaccines

The idea that GBS may be a side effect from vaccinations started in the aftermath of a swine influenza vaccine program administered in the United States in 1976. At the time, the estimated risk of getting GBS after a swine flu vaccine was estimated to be about 1 per 100,000 recipients.

 

Since then, studies have shown that the risk of GBS within six weeks of being sick with the flu was much higher than the risk after getting a flu shot. Data showed one GBS hospital admission per million vaccinations compared with 17 GBS admissions per million influenza infections.

 

Additional studies show that vaccines for a number of conditions are not associated with increased risk for GBS, including vaccines for:

 

  • Diphtheria
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Measles
  • Meningococcal conjugate
  • Mumps
  • Polio
  • Pneumococcal
  • Rabies
  • Rubella
  • Tetanus
  • Varicella
Neuroscience

Norton Children’s Neuroscience Institute

Connect with the Norton Children’s
Neurology Team

(502) 588-3650


Connect With the Norton Children’s
Neurosurgery Team

(502) 583-1697

From 1 pound, 10 ounces to a thriving kindergartner

When Dana’s daughter, LeAnn, was born at 25 weeks, she weighed 1 pound, 10 ounces. Born more than three months early, LeAnn was so fragile she couldn’t be held or even taken out of the […]

Read Full Story

Epilepsy surgery risks: How technology can help families make informed choices

If your child has seizures that aren’t helped by medication, you may be considering surgery. Epilepsy surgery’s risks and benefits for a child are complicated and are better understood with as much information as possible. […]

Read Full Story

Living with — and treating —Type 1 diabetes

Living with Type 1 diabetes touches every aspect of a person’s life — children, teens and their families learn to manage and live with the condition. Many with Type 1 diabetes found their way to […]

Read Full Story

The health care providers staffing the Kentucky COVID-19 Hotline

The rapid spread of the coronavirus has made it critical that accurate health information be distributed as quickly as possible to Kentucky residents. The Kentucky Poison Control Center of Norton Children’s Hospital stepped up to […]

Read Full Story

An opportunity this holiday season to instill gratitude and hope in our children

For so many, this year has felt like a long haul with no end in sight. A global pandemic, racial injustice and economic insecurity have all contributed to surging rates of mental illness in families […]

Read Full Story

Search our entire site.