A descriptive study of pain and quality of life following Guillain-Barré syndrome: One year later

Academic Article


  • Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a debilitating immunopathy that afflicts approximately 5,000 patients annually in the United States, a number that represents roughly half of the incidence of spinal cord injuries (J. M., Meythaler, 1997). Of these 5,000 new cases per year, 4-15% will die, 20% will possess deficits in ambulation or require ventilator assistance more than one year later, and more than two-thirds will have persistent fatigue (J. M., Meythaler, 1997; Hughes et al., 2003). These figures suggest that GBS is currently a legitimate cause of long-term disability. Many secondary complications may follow GBS that include dysautonomia, deep vein thrombosis, anemia, immobilization, and pain and sensory involvement (J. M., Meythaler, 1997; J. M. Meythaler, M. J. De Vivo, and W. C. Braswell, 1997). These medical complications have not been studied systematically, and the psychosocial complication of pain following GBS has certainly been overlooked in the literature. The present paper utilized a limited sample of 18 patients (N = 18) with persistent motor deficits at least one year after onset of GBS. We examined their pain and perceived quality of life as part of an ongoing federally funded study which will ultimately attempt to determine if 4-aminopyridine (4-AP) significantly improves motor function in patients with residual weakness from GBS. Findings suggest that while most persons do not rate themselves as depressed one year after GBS onset, 22% of respondents did exceed the cutoff for clinical depression on the CES-D. Age and gender do not appear to be related to any component of pain in GBS; however, self-ratings of physical and mental health do appear to be significantly related to pain experience. The nature of this relationship was not determined, and merits further investigation in future studies. © Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005.
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    Author List

  • Kogos SC; Richards JS; Baños J; Schmitt MM; Brunner RC; Meythaler JM; Salisbury DB; Renfroe SG; White AJ
  • Start Page

  • 111
  • End Page

  • 116
  • Volume

  • 12
  • Issue

  • 2