Occurrence of fatigue over 20 years after recovery from Guillain-Barré syndrome.
Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS) is an acute demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy that leads to limb and trunk weakness, and, if severe, also weakness of respiratory and bulbar muscles. It can affect individuals at any age, although it is more frequent in the elderly, with an annual incidence of approximately 1.2–2.3 cases per 100,000 persons. The medical condition improves in most patients, with an overall survival exceeding 90%. Residual motor disability of different degrees is reported in 10–20% of patients.
Fatigue is a frequent complaint in the general practitioners' practice. The pathophysiologic basis of fatigue is complex and includes physical and psychological aspects. It is an important feature of many neurological diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease, as well as a presentation of depression and a common side effect of medications, e.g. beta-blockers. In GBS fatigue was described in 60–80% of patients. Even in patients who achieved a good functional recovery, fatigue is reported as one of the most disabling residual symptoms.
This study is the longest follow-up of patients with GBS ever reported. Almost half (42%) of patients suffered from disabling subjective fatigue more than 20 years after the acute disease. The degree of fatigue correlated to the neurological disability both at admission for in-hospital rehabilitation and at time of the study, although some patients complained of disabling fatigue in spite of making a good neurological recovery. > from Drory et al., Journal of the Neurological Sciences 316 (2012) 72–75. All rights reserved to Elsevier Ltd.
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In the YouTube clip below you'll see the recovery and physiotherapy of a GBS patient.