What is Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS)?

First diagnosed in 1916, Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) is a rare medical condition that has been linked to a number of different causes, including influenza and tetanus vaccinations. While GBS has a list of fairly recognizable symptoms, due to its rarity (there are fewer than 20,000 reported cases in the United States each year), it is a disease that is also commonly misdiagnosed. With two well-established treatment options, patients who receive an accurate diagnosis of Guillain-Barre Syndrome are often able to make a full recovery. However, this recovery can take months or years, and lingering chronic effects are fairly common.

Variants of GBS

There are several variants of Guillain-Barre Syndrome, and determining the best course of treatment and the long-term prognosis for vaccine-related GBS requires an accurate diagnosis of the individual’s specific variant.

Acute Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (AIDP)

AIDP is a variant of Guillain-Barre Syndrome in which the immune system attacks the myelin sheath of the nerve cells in the body. Symptoms that characterize AIDP include pain and tingling that are typically followed by weakness in the arms, legs, hands and feet.

Acute Motor Axonal Neuropathy (AMAN)

AMAN is a GBS variant in which the immune system attacks the axons in the nerve cells rather than the myelin sheath. It is among the most-common variants of GBS; and, like the other axonal variants, beginning treatment for AMAN promptly can significantly improve one’s chance of experiencing a full and complete recovery.

Acute Motor Sensory Axonal Neuropathy (AMSAN)

AMSAN is characterized by symptoms similar to those of AIDP; however, with AMSAN, these symptoms are typically more severe. Due to this increased severity, the recovery time and risk of complications are often greater with AMSAN.

Acute Panautonomic Neuropathy

Acute panautonomic neuropathy is characterized by dry eyes, blurred vision and other sensory impairments. Cardiovascular complications are also common. Acute panautonomic neuropathy is the rarest known variant of GBS.

Bickerstaff’s Brainstem Encephalitis (BBE)

BBE is another rare variant of Guillain-Barre Syndrome with potentially-serious complications. The symptoms used to diagnose BBE include drowsiness, loss of motor control and loss of reflexes in the lower limbs. In severe cases, patients may fall into a coma.

Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP)

CIDP is among both the most common and the most dangerous variants of GBS. Early symptoms include progressive weakness and sensory impairment. Due to its chronic nature, vaccine recipients diagnosed with CIDP typically experience long-term effects, often including permanent paralysis.

Miller Fisher Syndrome (MFS)

Miller Fisher Syndrome is a GBS variant characterized by loss of muscle coordination, absence of tendon reflexes, and paralysis of the eye muscles. Data maintained by the National Institutes of Health indicate that the majority of individuals diagnosed with MFS have a unique antibody that also helps to characterize the disorder.

Pharyngeal-Cervical-Brachial Variant

Pharyngeal-cervical-brachial variant is an anoxal GBS variant similar to AMAN and AMSAN, but with characteristic symptoms that are more similar to those of CIDP.

Are You Entitled to Financial Compensation for Flu Shot or Tetanus Vaccine GBS?

If you have been diagnosed with GBS, CIDP or any other form of GBS following a flu shot or tetanus vaccination, you may be entitled to financial recovery under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). To learn more about the VICP and find out if you qualify, call (202) 800-1711 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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