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J Child Neurol. 2012 May;27(5):581-6. doi: 10.1177/0883073811420872. Epub 2012 Jan 12.

Autonomic dysfunction in childhood Guillain-Barré syndrome.

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  • 1Division of Neurology, Department of Pediatrics, The University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Connecticut Children's Medical Center, Hartford, CT, USA.


This investigation correlated incidence and degree of autonomic dysfunction with the degree of motor impairment in children hospitalized with Guillain-Barré syndrome. Motor weakness varies, as does the effect on autonomic function including heart rate, vasomotor stability, sweating, continence, and blood pressure. After Institutional Review Board approval, hospitalized patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome <19 years were included for retrospective chart review. There were 26 patients (12 boys), with a mean age of 11.3 years (range, 6-17 years). The average hospital stay was 10.6 days. Twenty-four (92%) recovered by 2 to 6 months without functional disability. Bradycardia and sweating disturbances were not observed. Hypertension occurred in 18 of 26 (69%) and tachycardia in 20 of 26 (77%) patients. The proportion of children with hypertension and/or tachycardia increased, as did the motor disability grade (P < .043 and P < .018, respectively). Hypertension occurred 9 to 15 days from symptom onset and within 24 to 48 hours of maximum motor disability in 89%. Multiple autonomic disturbances compound the course of childhood Guillain-Barré syndrome.

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