Can GBS attack body muscles only?

    • Anonymous
      April 13, 2011 at 7:40 am

      Hi there. This is the story: a contact of mine (Italy, Cesena city) asks assistance for her father, over 70 old, who is since November in I.C.U. for a diagnosed GBS. He got the disease a few days after the usual flu vaccine (it was the first time in his life, btw…). The singular aspect is that only the body muscles have been involved, not arms nor legs. Of course he got a lung paralysis and only these days it seems that some autonomy has been gained back.

      Is there anybody who could bear a similar experience? Why this happened? Could it be a mis-diagnosis? He has been treated with only one cycle of IgV and no corticosteroids. What can be done to augment the chances of a faster and satisfactory recovery? Is anybody in touch with physicians at the Montecatone (Imola, Italy) famous reahab center?

      Thank you for every reply and best wishes and regards.

      Giovanni Giavelli

    • Anonymous
      April 14, 2011 at 3:05 pm

      Hi Giovanni,

      Good question. Unfortunately, I haven’t heard of any cases where the nerves weren’t involved when GBS was diagnosed. The only suggestions I have is to try to search the net as much as possible and attempt to question Neurologists.

      I hope you and your friend are able to find the answers and hopefully, a proper diagnosis.

      Take care,


    • Anonymous
      April 14, 2011 at 7:12 pm


      You have asked difficult questions for a difficult case.

      Consider these factors from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH):

      “[I]The signs and symptoms of the syndrome can be quite varied, so doctors may, on rare occasions, find it difficult to diagnose Guillain-Barré in its earliest stages.

      1. The first symptoms of this disorder include varying degrees of weakness or tingling sensations in the legs. In many instances the weakness and abnormal sensations spread to the arms and upper body.

      2. Most people reach the stage of greatest weakness within the first 2 weeks after symptoms appear, and by the third week of the illness 90 percent of all patients are at their weakest.

      3. Because the signals to and from the arms and legs must travel the longest distances they are most vulnerable to interruption. Therefore, muscle weakness and tingling sensations usually first appear in the hands and feet and progress upwards.

      4. In Guillain-Barré, reflexes such as knee jerks are usually lost.

      5. In Guillain-Barré patients, the cerebrospinal fluid that bathes the spinal cord and brain contains more protein than usual. Therefore a physician may decide to perform a spinal tap, a procedure in which the doctor inserts a needle into the patient’s lower back to draw cerebrospinal fluid from the spinal column. [/I]

      Finally, “[I]Several disorders have symptoms similar to those found in Guillain-Barré, so doctors examine and question patients carefully before making a diagnosis. Collectively, the signs and symptoms form a certain pattern that helps doctors differentiate Guillain-Barré from other disorders.[/I]”

      The ‘funny feelings’ in the legs as a first sign seems to be an unequivocal diagnostic tool, as does the rapidity of the symptoms.

      Consider how long from first symptoms to absolute worse. Of course 10%, or more of patients, don’t fit these guidelines. But, if he does than forse è così. (maybe it is so)

    • Anonymous
      April 14, 2011 at 7:15 pm

      It would appear that corticosteroids are not indicated for GBS.

      Quoted from [url][/url]

      “[I]Research on corticosteroid therapy

      To find out whether corticosteroids speed up recovery and reduce the effects of GBS, researchers from the Cochrane Collaboration analysed clinical trials of this treatment. The Cochrane Collaboration is an international network of researchers who systematically review trials that test the benefits of health care interventions. They found 8 trials. Only 6 of these trials measured disability in a way that could help answer important questions about the usefulness of corticosteroid therapy for patients. You can click here to read about why it is important to carry out trials in a particular way to find out whether a medical intervention helps. The 6 trials that were included in the analysis involved over 580 people with GBS.

      After a year the people who had corticosteroids did not have less disability than people who took a dummy drug (placebo) or had immunoglobulin therapy only. Serious adverse effects from short courses of corticosteroids were not common, although people who had corticosteroids might have been a bit more likely to develop diabetes. There was some evidence that giving corticosteroids into the veins (intravenous therapy) along with immunoglobulin therapy in the early weeks might have a short-term benefit, but more research is needed to be sure.

      The researchers found that corticosteroids might actually delay recovery when taken as tablets. More research is needed to be sure about this as well, though. One possible reason could be that, while early intravenous treatment might have some benefit in the acute phase of inflammation, tablets are usually taken over longer periods of time, and perhaps they start to do some unknown kind of harm after a while. It is theoretically possible, for example, that while the corticosteroids have a beneficial effect on the inflammation of the nerves, they could have a different effect on the muscles. The researchers concluded that immunoglobulin therapy can improve symptoms 4 weeks after GBS, but it is not certain that adding corticosteroids to the treatment will help.[/I]”

    • Anonymous
      April 14, 2011 at 9:54 pm

      ‘Multifocal Motor Neuropathy’ And I think you mite find what you need in this search.
      It can run similar and or parallel courses to GBS – it’s what makes it so hard to diagnose and differentiate.

      Good luck!

    • Anonymous
      April 21, 2011 at 2:52 am

      The ‘never heard before’ symptom framework is that only lungs and sphincteres seem paralyzed, and none of peripheral muscles is involved. The patient is not able to recover after 5 months and his breath autonomy is only about 2 hours, after which extra ventilation is required.

      MMN is very similar to GBS, whereas here the diagnosed ”GBS subtype” is exceptionally atypical, with legs and arms left uninvolved. If this is enough to doubt about such a diagnosis, what other immuno disease could it be ??

      I understand that a treatment with prednison is not suggested, but de facto this person is not pharmacologically treated in any way, except one IvIg cycle in January which, for what I know, has not been repeated as yielded even more weakness and did not show any positive effect.

      Thank you for your active interest and involvement. Hope more replies will follow.

      Happy Easter to everybody.