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
- Temporary paralysis of the face, eye, chest and limb muscles
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.
Each child experiencesGBS symptoms differently.They can develop quickly andresemble other medical conditions. Common symptoms include:
- Breathing trouble
- Facial weakness
- Losing feeling or pain in fingers and toes
- Weakness, tingling and pain in the legs that moves to the arms
- Trouble walking
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:
Babies should be introduced “nutrient dense” and “potentially allergenic foods” at 6 months old, according to new guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services. The recommendations […]Read Full Story
For the past 13 years, Fred Bennett has assumed the role of “candy man” at the gift shop in Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital. This dedicated volunteer is known for ensuring that staff and visitors […]Read Full Story
Norton Children’s Hospital has been verified as a Level I Children’s Surgery Center by the American College of Surgeons Children’s Surgery Verification Quality Improvement Program. The verification means Norton Children’s Hospital meets standards that ensure […]Read Full Story
As a medical student, Kimberly S. Huhmann, M.D., was interested in both pediatrics and obstetrics/gynecology. It was during her residency that Dr. Huhmann started considering combining her interests as a pediatric and adolescent gynecology specialist. […]Read Full Story
Norton Healthcare cut the ribbon on its newly renovated Norton Children’s Hospital pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), marking the completion of a $78 million expansion and renovation project to improve critical care services for children […]Read Full Story