J Res Clin Med. 2021;9(1): 34.
doi: 10.34172/jrcm.2021.034
  Abstract View: 94
  PDF Download: 60


COVID-19 infection complicated by Guillain-Barre Syndrome: a systematic review of clinical features, pathogenic mechanism, and respiratory failure

Mahya Khaki 1* ORCID logo, Parastoo Dehghan 2, Naghmeh Malekzadeh 3, Mohsen Khamoushi 4, Fahimehalsadat Shojaei 5, Sahar Memar Motazerin 5, Homa Najafi 5, Reza Boostani 6, Gholamreza Malekzadeh 7, Gerald Chi 5

1 Department of Family Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada
2 Department of Surgery, Division of Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
3 Faculty of Medicine, Islamic Azad University, Mashhad Branch, Mashhad, Iran
4 Department of Neurosurgery, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran
5 Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
6 Department of Neurology, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran
7 Department of Neurology, Islamic Azad University, Mashhad Branch, Mashhad, Iran


Background: The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a pandemic in March 2020 caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Given the neurotropism feature of the coronavirus and growing number of COVID-19 associated neurological disorders, including Guillain Barre syndrome (GBS), we conducted a systematic review to thoroughly describe the clinical features, diagnostic workup, and clinical outcome of COVID-19 associated GBS in 78 cases.
Methods: We identified case reports and case series of COVID-19 associated GBS by conducting a search in the PubMed/MEDLINE and EMBASE databases. We assessed the quality of studies using an appraisal checklist presented by Cochrane Murad et al. Extracted data included demographic characteristics, clinical presentation, diagnostic workup, and outcome.
Results: The systematic search yielded a total of 60 articles reporting 78 patients with a diagnosis of COVID-19 associated GBS. The patients were mainly male (65.3%) with an average age of 57 years. The ascending symmetrical paresis was the most common presentation (79.4%), with demyelinating pattern in 54 patients (79.4%). The CSF analysis showed albuminocytologic dissociation in 48 patients (75%). The mortality of COVID-19 associated GBS was estimated as 6.4% attributable to progressive respiratory failure.
Conclusion: Given the associated morbidities such as respiratory failure in patients with COVID-19 associated GBS, its timely detection is crucial to prevent poor clinical outcomes. On the other hand, clinicians must be vigilant to identify the clinical findings of SARS-CoV-2 infection in newly diagnosed GBS patients, as this might be a neurological complication of the subclinical viral infection.
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2, Coronavirus, Guillain–Barré syndrome, Miller Fisher syndrome, Polyradiculopathy
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Submitted: 09 Feb 2021
Revision: 11 May 2021
Accepted: 15 May 2021
ePublished: 26 Oct 2021
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