Sural sparing pattern discriminates Guillain–Barré syndrome from its mimics



Introduction: Electrodiagnostic features of demyelination are essential for establishing the diagnosis in demyelinating subtypes of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), but they may also occur in disorders that mimic GBS clinically. Information about their frequency in GBS mimics is sparse. Methods: Evaluation of electrodiagnostic features from 38 patients with suspected GBS in whom the diagnosis was later refuted (GBS mimics). Their diagnostic accuracy was analyzed by comparison with nerve conduction studies (NCS) from 73 confirmed GBS patients. Results: Disorders that mimicked GBS clinically at the time of hospital admission included other inflammatory, metabolic, toxic, or infectious neuropathies and spinal cord disorders. The sural sparing pattern was the most specific electrodiagnostic feature for demyelinating GBS. Conclusions: Common electrodiagnostic abnormalities in early demyelinating GBS do not usually exclude other rare differential diagnoses. An exception to this is the sural sparing pattern described here, which strongly supports the diagnosis of demyelinating GBS. Muscle Nerve 50: 780–784, 2014