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Recognizing the increasing reports of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) with COVID-19 infection, the authors summarize the syndrome's clinical features when associated with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Reviewing the literature and extracting 18 patient reports, they note that the interval between the onset of symptoms of COVID-19 and the first symptoms of GBS ranged from −8 days to 24 days, with a mean of 9 days. Most patients presented with a typical GBS clinical form, chiefly with a demyelinating electrophysiological subtype, and the clinical disease course seemed similar to those observed in GBS related to other etiologies.
This is retrospective data extracted from published literature, so the range of phenotypical features, clinical course, and outcomes may not be comprehensive; nevertheless, it's a reasonable summary of the current published literature on the disease.
− Omar Iqbal Khan, MD
This abstract is available on the publisher's site.
Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) incidence can increase during outbreaks of infectious illnesses. A few cases of GBS associated with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection have been reported. The aim was to identify specific clinical features of GBS associated with COVID-19. PubMed, Embase and Cochrane were searched from 1 November 2019 to 17 May 2020 and included all papers with full text in English, Spanish, French or Italian, reporting original data of patients with GBS and COVID-19. Data were extracted according to a predefined protocol. A total of 18 patients reported in 14 papers were included in this review. All the patients were symptomatic for COVID-19, with cough and fever as the most frequently reported symptoms. The interval between the onset of symptoms of COVID-19 and the first symptoms of GBS ranged from -8 to 24 days (mean 9 days; median 10 days). Most of the patients had a typical GBS clinical form predominantly with a demyelinating electrophysiological subtype. Mechanical ventilation was necessary in eight (44%) patients. Two (11%) patients died. Published cases of GBS associated with COVID-19 report a sensorimotor, predominantly demyelinating GBS with a typical clinical presentation. Clinical features and disease course seem similar to those observed in GBS related to other etiologies. These results should be interpreted with caution since only 18 cases have been heterogeneously reported so far.