A systematic review from 1 January to 30 June 2020 revealed 42 patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Single cases and small series were reported from 13 countries, the majority from Europe (79.4%) and especially from Italy (30.9%). SARS-CoV-2 infection was demonstrated by nasopharyngeal swab (85.7%) and serology (14.3%). Median time between COVID-19 and GBS onset in 36 patients was 11.5 days (IQR: 7.7–16). The most common clinical features were: limb weakness (76.2%), hypoareflexia (80.9 %), sensory disturbances (66.7 %) and facial palsy (38.1%). Dysautonomia occurred in 19%, respiratory failure in 33.3% and 40.5% of patients were admitted in intensive care unit. Most patients (71.4%) had the classical clinical presentation but virtually all GBS variants and subtypes were reported. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) albumin-cytological dissociation was found in 28/36 (77.8%) and PCR for SARS-CoV-2 was negative in 25/25 patients. Electrodiagnosis was demyelinating in 80.5% and levels 1 and 2 of Brighton criteria of diagnostic certainty, when applicable, were fulfilled in 94.5% patients. Antiganglioside antibodies were positive in only 1/22 patients. Treatments were intravenous immunoglobulin and/or plasma exchange (92.8%) with, at short-time follow-up, definite improvement or recovery in 62.1% of patients. One patient died. In conclusion, the most frequent phenotype of GBS in SARS-CoV-2 infection is the classical sensorimotor demyelinating GBS responding to the usual treatments. The time interval between infectious and neuropathic symptoms, absence of CSF pleocytosis and negative PCR support a postinfectious mechanism. The abundance of reports suggests a pathogenic link between SARS-CoV-2 infection and GBS but a casecontrol study is greatly needed.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1136/jnnp-2020-324491, hdl.handle.net/1765/130873
Journal Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry
Citation
Uncini, A., Vallat, J.M., & Jacobs, B.C. (2020). Guillain-Barré syndrome in SARS-CoV-2 infection: an instant systematic review of the first six months of pandemic. Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry, 91(10), 1105–1110. doi:10.1136/jnnp-2020-324491