Learn about the Guillain-Barre Syndrome from Michael Marcus, MD Pediatric Pulmonary at the Maimonides Medical Center Fellowship, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
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Host: Sometimes after virus or sometimes you get an injection, the original swine flu injections, there was a condition called Gillian-Barry syndrome. What is Gillian-Barry syndrome? Guest: Gillian-Barry syndrome is an inflammatory disease of the nervous system. It seems to be an autoimmune response that is a response where the body's own immune system begins to attack the nervous system in a fashion which causes slow, progressive paralysis. It's a temporary condition where the paralysis will progress over of ten day period to two week, even to the point where you may need to be intubated and placed on a respirator, a breathing machine to breathe for you because your own muscles are too paralyzed to breathe for yourself. It's a temporary condition which if you take the proper precautions and proper treatment, then, overtime, will reverse and the vast majority of patients will be come back to their previously normal cell as the condition results. Host: How does it present ? What would be the first symptoms? Guest: The first symptoms are a feeling of weakness and easy fatigue, which usually begins in the legs. It reaches the point where it becomes difficult to walk, then difficult to stand and the neurological impairment, the difficulty with the nervous system, progresses from the legs on up to the trunk to affect the breathing muscles, the arms and the chest wall. The extent of the illness dictates what kinds of treatment whereby when you get difficulty in extending as high as the chest wall and the breathing muscles are affected, that's the point where the patient is intubated. There are certain medications and treatments that you can use to try to slow or limit the spread of this disease and help the disease to reverse itself more quickly. Host: If a person has Gillian-Barry syndrome, are they contiguous with anything? Guest: They are not contiguous. It's an autoimmune disease as I've said, whereby the body's own immune system is attacking the body. If it's not seems to be caused specifically by any one infection but rather the body's interaction between the infection and their own response.
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