Reasons for delayed treatment initiation in Guillain-Barre syndrome

Gilad Kenan, Tomer Regev, Mark Kushnir, Oren Cohen, Revital Gandelman-Marton, Itzhak Kimiagar, Carmel Armon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The goal of this study was to analyze the reasons for delayed diagnosis of Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS). Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the records of all adult patients with GBS treated at Shamir Medical Center (SMC) from 2006 to 2018. We divided the patients into two groups: those with early initiation of treatment (within 24 h of arrival to ED), and those with later initiation of treatment (>24 h after arrival). We extracted epidemiological and clinical data regarding those groups, and compared them. Results: 100 patients with GBS were treated between 2006 and 2018 at SMC. 50 patients were treated within 24 h of arrival, and in 50 - treatment was initiated later. Of those with delayed treatment, 9 had mild disease, but did receive a working diagnosis of GBS. 41 patients were not diagnosed initially as a clear-cut GBS, and alternative diagnoses were considered, the most common were orthopedic (11/41), vascular (7/41) or nutritional deficiency (6\41). Findings that increased the likelihood for alternative diagnoses to be considered first were severe limb or back pain (26/41); intact or brisk reflexes (17/41); and an atypical pattern of weakness (7\41). Conclusions: GBS is a challenging diagnosis. Acknowledging the heterogeneity of its presentation and knowing its pitfalls is crucial for the prompt and accurate diagnosis of the disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120179
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
StatePublished - 15 Mar 2022


  • Acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
  • Delayed diagnosis
  • GBS
  • IVIG treatment


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