Abstract: Objectives: Using recent optimized electrodiagnostic criteria sets, we primarily aimed at verifying the accuracy of the initial electrophysiological test in very early Guillain-Barré syndrome (VEGBS), ?4 days of onset, compared with the results of serial electrophysiology. Our secondary objective was to correlate early electrophysiological results with sonographic nerve changes.
Methods: This is a retrospective study based on consecutive VEGBS patients admitted to the hospital. Each patient had serial nerve conduction studies (NCS) in at least 4 nerves. Initial NCS were done within 4 days after onset, and serial ones from the second week onwards. Electrophysiological recordings of each case were re-evaluated, GBS subtype being established accordingly. Nerve ultrasonography was almost always performed within 2 weeks after onset.
Results: Fifteen adult VEGBS patients were identified with a mean age of 57.8 years. At first NCS, VEGBS sub-typing was only possible in 3 (20%) cases that showed an axonal pattern, the remaining patterns being mixed (combining axonal and demyelinating features) in 6 (40%), equivocal in 5 (33.3%), and normal in 1 (6.7%). Upon serial NCS, 7 (46.7%) cases were categorized as acute demyelinating polyneuropathy, 7 (46.7%) as axonal GBS, and 1 (6.6%) as unclassified syndrome. Antiganglioside reactivity was detected in 5 out of the 7 axonal cases. Nerve US showed that lesions mainly involved the ventral rami of scanned cervical nerves.
Conclusions: Serial electrophysiological evaluation is necessary for accurate VEGBS subtype classification. Ultrasonography helps delineate the topography of nerve changes.
Significance: We provide new VEGBS pathophysiological insights into nerve conduction alterations within the first 4 days of the clinical course.
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