Guillain-Barré Syndrome - Definition, Etiology and Classification

Guillain-Barre syndrome is a cause of paralysis is fairly common in young adults. Guillain-Barre syndrome is often caused concerns for patients and their families because it occurs in the productive age, especially in some circumstances can cause death, although it generally has a good prognosis.

Some names are called by some experts for this disease, namely idiopathic polyneuritis, acute febrile polyneuritis, acute infectious polyneuritis, acute postinfectious polyneuritis, Acute inflammatory demyelinating Polyradiculoneuropathy, Landry's ascending paralysis and Landry-Guillain-Barré Syndrome.


Guillain-Barre syndrome or acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy is an acute inflammation that causes nerve cell damage without an obvious cause. This syndrome was found in 1916 by Georges Guillain, Jean-Alexandre Barré and Strohl André. They discovered the syndrome in two soldiers who suffered from abnormality increased production of cerebrospinal fluid protein. Diagnosis of Guillain-Barre syndrome can be done by analyzing cerebrospinal fluid and electrodiagnostic. Indications of infection is the increase in white blood cells in the cerebrospinal fluid. Whereas when using electrodiagnostic, can through conduction studies nerve cells. (Nugrahanti, 2010)

Parry said that, Guillain-Barre syndrome is a polyneuropathy that is ascending and acute that often occurs after 1 to 3 weeks after acute infection. According to Bosch, Guillain-Barre syndrome is a clinical syndrome characterized by flaccid paralysis that occurs acutely associated with the autoimmune process in which the target is peripheral nerves, nerve roots and cranial nerves.


Guillain-Barre syndrome is still not known with certainty the cause and is still a matter of debate. Some state / illness that precedes and may be an association with the occurrence of Guillain-Barre syndrome, among others:
  • Infection
  • Vaccination
  • Surgery
  • Systemic disease: malignancy, systemic lupus erythematosus, thyroiditis, Addison's disease
  • Pregnancy or during childbirth

Guillain-Barre syndrome is often associated with acute non-specific infections. The incidence of cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome associated with these infections approximately between 56% - 80%, which is 1 to 4 weeks before neurological symptoms arise, such as upper respiratory infections or gastrointestinal infections.

Previously the syndrome is thought to be caused by a viral infection, but recently revealed that in fact the virus is not the cause. Scientists have theorized today is an abnormality Immunobiology, either primary immune response and immune-mediated process.

In general, this syndrome is often preceded by influenza infection or upper respiratory tract or gastrointestinal tract. The cause of viral infections in general, of the herpes group. This syndrome can also be preceded by vaccination, bacterial infections, endocrine disorders, surgery, anesthesia, and so on.


Some variant of Guillain-Barre syndrome can be classified as follows:
  • Acute inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy
  • Subacute inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy
  • Acute of motor axonal neuropathy
  • Acute of motor and sensory axonal neuropathy
  • Fisher's syndrome
  • Acute pandysautonomia

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