Guillain-Barré syndrome is an autoimmune disease leading to the destruction of Schwann cells and peripheral nerve demyelination. Clinically, it is preceded by a viral illness. Muscular weakness occurs with an ascending paralysis, accompanied by loss of deep tendon reflexes. Diagnosis can be established with nerve conduction studies; lumbar puncture shows elevated protein.
Microscopic examination demonstrates inflammation and demyelination of periph-eral nerves and spinal nerve roots, resulting in muscular weakness. Guillain-Barré syndrome is fatal in 5% of cases because of respiratory paralysis. Treatment is plas-mapheresis and immunoglobulin therapy.
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