Factors contributing to delay in diagnosis of Guillain-Barré syndrome and impact on clinical outcome

Divyanshu Dubey, Marissa Kapotic, Matthew Freeman, Anshudha Sawhney, Julio C. Rojas, Worthy Warnack, Steven Vernino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Introduction: Heterogeneity of presenting symptoms makes the initial clinical diagnosis of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) challenging. Methods: Observational retrospective study from 2 teaching hospitals (Parkland Memorial Hospital and University of Texas Southwestern University Hospital) between 2008 and 2013. Results: Sixty-nine GBS patients were identified. GBS was suspected on initial emergency department visit in only 49%. During first hospital encounter, 58% were evaluated by a neurologist. Neuropathic pain and presence of intact deep tendon reflexes were associated with delayed GBS diagnosis (P<0.05). There was significantly better clinical outcome among patients who were evaluated by a neurologist during the initial visit (P<0.005). Among these patients there was also significant difference in discharge destination; 71.2% of patients evaluated by a neurologist were discharged home (P<0.01). Patients in whom GBS was not suspected at the time of initial Neurology evaluation were more likely to require intubation and to have residual weakness at the time of discharge (P<0.05). Conclusions: Atypical clinical signs and symptoms may lead to delayed diagnosis of GBS. Early neurological evaluation is associated with improved clinical diagnosis and discharge disposition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)384-387
Number of pages4
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Delay
  • Diagnosis
  • Emergency service
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome
  • Referral and consultation
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Physiology (medical)


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