The efficacy of intravenous immunoglobulin in guillain-barré syndrome: The experience of a tertiary medical center

Dvir Shalem, Asaf Shemer, Ora Shovman, Yehuda Shoenfeld, Shaye Kivity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is an autoimmune disease of the peripheral nervous system with a typical presentation of acute paralysis and hyporeflexia. Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) and plasma exchange (PLEX) are treatments that have proven to expedite recuperation and recovery of motor function. Objectives: To describe our experience at one tertiary medical center treating GBS with IVIG and to compare the efficacy of IVIG as the sole treatment versus combined therapy of IVIG and plasma exchange. Methods: We reviewed the records of all patients diagnosed with GBS and treated with IVIG at the Sheba Medical Center from 2007 to 2015 and collected data on patient demographics, disease onset and presentation, and treatments delivered. The motor disability grading scale (MDGS) was used to evaluate the motor function of each patient through the various stages of the disease and following therapy. Results: MDGS improvement from admission until discharge was statistically significant (P < 0.001), as was the regainment of motor functions at 3 and 12 months follow-up compared to the status during the nadir of the disease. The effectiveness of second-line treatment with IVIG following PLEX failure and vice versa was not statistically significant (P > 0.15). Conclusions: The majority of patients included in this study experienced a significant and rapid improvement of GBS following treatment with IVIG. Combined therapy of PLEX and IVIG was not proven to be effective in patients who encountered a failure of the first-line treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)754-760
Number of pages7
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • Autoimmunity
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS)
  • Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG)
  • Motor disability grading scale (MDGS)
  • Plasma exchange (PLEX)


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