Several published reports have described a possible association between Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. This systematic review aimed to summarize and meta-analyze the salient features and prognosis of SARS-CoV-2-associated GBS. We searched the PubMed (Medline), Web of Science and Cochrane databases for articles published between 01 January 2020 and 05 August 2020 using SARS-CoV-2 and GBS-related keywords. Data on sociodemographic characteristics, antecedent symptoms, clinical, serological and electrophysiological features, and hospital outcomes were recorded. We included 45 articles from 16 countries reporting 61 patients with SARS-CoV-2-associated GBS. Most (97.7%) articles were from high- and upper-middle-income countries. Forty-two (68.9%) of the patients were male; median (interquartile range) age was 57 (49-70) years. Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction for SARS-CoV-2 was positive in 90.2% of patients. One report of SARS-CoV-2-associated familial GBS was found which affected a father and daughter of a family. Albuminocytological dissociation in cerebrospinal fluid was found in 80.8% of patients. The majority of patients (75.5%) had a demyelinating subtype of GBS. Intravenous immunoglobulin and plasmapheresis were given to 92.7% and 7.3% of patients, respectively. Around two-thirds (65.3%) of patients had a good outcome (GBS-disability score ≤ 2) on discharge from hospital. Two patients died in hospital. SARS-CoV-2-associated GBS mostly resembles the classical presentations of GBS that respond to standard treatments. Extensive surveillance is required in low- and lower-middle-income countries to identify and report similar cases/series. Further large-scale case-control studies are warranted to strengthen the current evidence. PROSPERO Registration Number CRD42020201673.

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Journal of the Peripheral Nervous System
Department of Neurology