COVID-19-Associated Guillain-Barre Syndrome: Atypical Para-infectious Profile, Symptom Overlap, and Increased Risk of Severe Neurological Complications.

Journal Article (Journal Article;Review)

The concurrence of COVID-19 with Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) can increase the likelihood of neuromuscular respiratory failure, autonomic dysfunction, and other life-threatening symptoms. Currently, very little is known about the underlying mechanisms, clinical course, and prognostic implications of comorbid COVID-19 in patients with GBS. We reviewed COVID-19-associated GBS case reports published since the outbreak of the pandemic, with a database search up to August 2020, including a manual search of the reference lists for additional relevant cases. Fifty-one (51) case reports of COVID-19 patients (aged 23-84 years) diagnosed with GBS in 11 different countries were included in this review. The results revealed atypical manifestations of GBS, including para-infectious profiles and onset of GBS without antecedent COVID-19 symptoms. Although all tested patients had signs of neuroinflammation, none had SARS-CoV-2 in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and only four (4) patients had antiganglioside antibodies. The majority had a 1- to 10-day time interval between the onset of COVID-19 and GBS symptoms, and many had a poor outcome, with 20 out of the 51 (39.2%) requiring mechanical ventilation, and two deaths within 12 to 24 h. The atypical manifestations of COVID-19-associated GBS, especially the para-infectious profile and short time interval between the onset of the COVID-19 and GBS symptoms, increase the likelihood of symptom overlap, which can complicate the treatment and result in worsened disease progression and/or higher mortality rates. Inclusion of a neurological assessment during diagnosis of COVID-19 might facilitate timely identification and effective management of the GBS symptoms and improve treatment outcome.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Kajumba, MM; Kolls, BJ; Koltai, DC; Kaddumukasa, M; Kaddumukasa, M; Laskowitz, DT

Published Date

  • 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 2 / 12

Start / End Page

  • 2702 - 2714

PubMed ID

  • 33251483

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC7680081

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2523-8973

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s42399-020-00646-w


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Switzerland