Surgery-related Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is often underestimated and sometimes difficult to diagnose. This study aimed to elucidate the clinical features and electrophysiological subtypes of post-surgical GBS.
We retrospectively reviewed 17 patients who developed post-surgical GBS after a recent surgery between 2015 and 2019. Clinical characteristics, electrophysiological examinations, lumbar puncture results and prognosis were assessed. As controls, we selected 66 patients hospitalized with non-surgical GBS.
The median duration from the surgery to the onset of GBS symptoms was 16.0 days. The main types of surgeries preceding GBS were orthopedic, gastrointestinal and neurosurgery. Symmetrical distal limbs weakness was present in all 17 post-surgical GBS patients. The incidence of respiratory failure, autonomic dysfunction and muscle atrophy in post-surgical GBS patients was significantly higher than that in non-surgical GBS patients. Hughes Functional Grading Scale (HFGS) scores were also higher in the post-surgical GBS group both at the time of peak disease and 6 months after discharge. Electrophysiological studies revealed significant motor amplitudes reduction with relative preserved nerve conduction velocities and distal latencies, suggesting axonal subtypes of GBS.