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In the most common form of Guillain-Barré syndrome, the myelin covering of nerves throughout the body (the “peripheral nerves”) is damaged. (In a rarer form of the disease, the nerve axons themselves are damaged.) This can cause weakness, pain and sometimes temporary paralysis of muscles in the legs, arms, face and chest.
One day your child is fine, the next day she’s a little weak, and then the day after that she can’t walk. For many families of children with Guillian-Barré syndrome (GBS), this is how they first discover that something is wrong. It’s a terrifying experience for any parent to go through.
Fortunately, Guillain-Barré doesn’t just strike quickly: In most cases, it also goes away quickly. Many children are able to go back to their regular activities in a few weeks.
Here is some basic information about Guillain-Barré:
How Boston Children’s Hospital approaches Guillain-Barré
Our team at Boston Children’s is experienced in recognizing the signs of Guillain-Barré and providing excellent monitoring and treatment. We’re dedicated to treating children and adolescents, so our physicians, nurses and technologists are experts at helping kids feel at ease throughout testing and their time in the hospital, and supporting families every step of the way.
Specialists in our Neuromuscular Program evaluate and treat infants, children and adolescents with Guillain-Barré and other neuropathies. The program brings together pediatric specialists from neurology and other fields so we can provide comprehensive care for our patients. Our team works together with your family to help your child get back to her normal life as quickly and fully as possible.
Guillain-Barré syndrome: Reviewed by Peter Kang, MD
© Boston Children’s Hospital, 2010
Boston Children’s has been ranked #1 in Neurology and Neurosurgery by U.S. News & World Report in its 2015-16 rankings of pediatric hospitals—and we got top marks in many other fields, too. Get all the details on the U.S. News website.
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