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Keywords:

  • Guillain Barré syndrome;
  • outcome;
  • quality of life

Background and purpose:  The purpose of this study was to analyse the long-term impact of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) on quality of life, and the relationship between clinical variables at disease onset and symptoms at follow-up to general health status.

Methods:  Forty-two GBS patients were examined at median 6 years after disease onset and were compared with 50 healthy controls. The fatigue severity scale (FSS), visual analogue scale (VAS) for pain, disability rating index (DRI) and medical outcome study 36-item short-form health status scale (SF-36) were applied. Variables at onset and symptoms at follow-up were correlated with outcome measurements in GBS.

Results:  VAS [2.9 (SD 3.3) vs. 1.5 (SD 1.9); P = 0.01] and DRI [2.5 (SD 2.1) vs. 1.0 (SD 1.5); P < 0.001] were significantly higher in patients with GBS, compared with healthy controls. Decreased physical functioning and general health were found on SF-36. Differences between GBS patients with shorter (<6 years) and longer (≥6 years) follow-up after onset were not found.

Conclusions:  Relatively independent from various variables at onset, patients with GBS seem to have a reduced quality of life and functioning, and the distress seems to have become persistent after the first few years with improvement following the acute disease.