[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Medical Research Council grading system has served through decades for the evaluation of muscle strength and has been recognized as a cardinal feature of daily neurological, rehabilitation and general medicine examination of patients, despite being respectfully criticized due to the unequal width of its response options. No study has systematically examined, through modern psychometric approach, whether physicians are able to properly use the Medical Research Council grades. The objectives of this study were: (i) to investigate physicians' ability to discriminate among the Medical Research Council categories in patients with different neuromuscular disorders and with various degrees of weakness through thresholds examination using Rasch analysis as a modern psychometric method; (ii) to examine possible factors influencing physicians' ability to apply the Medical Research Council categories through differential item function analyses; and (iii) to examine whether the widely used Medical Research Council 12 muscles sum score in patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy would meet Rasch model's expectations. A total of 1065 patients were included from nine cohorts with the following diseases: Guillain-Barré syndrome (n = 480); myotonic dystrophy type-1 (n = 169); chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (n = 139); limb-girdle muscular dystrophy (n = 105); multifocal motor neuropathy (n = 102); Pompe's disease (n = 62) and monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined related polyneuropathy (n = 8). Medical Research Council data of 72 muscles were collected. Rasch analyses were performed on Medical Research Council data for each cohort separately and after pooling data at the muscle level to increase category frequencies, and on the Medical Research Council sum score in patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy. Disordered thresholds were demonstrated in 74-79% of the muscles examined, indicating physicians' inability to discriminate between most Medical Research Council categories. Factors such as physicians' experience or illness type did not influence these findings. Thresholds were restored after rescoring the Medical Research Council grades from six to four options (0, paralysis; 1, severe weakness; 2, slight weakness; 3, normal strength). The Medical Research Council sum score acceptably fulfilled Rasch model expectations after rescoring the response options and creating subsets to resolve local dependency and item bias on diagnosis. In conclusion, a modified, Rasch-built four response category Medical Research Council grading system is proposed, resolving clinicians' inability to differentiate among its original response categories and improving clinical applicability. A modified Medical Research Council sum score at the interval level is presented and is recommended for future studies in Guillain-Barré syndrome and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Respiratory insufficiency is a frequent and serious complication of the Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). We aimed to develop a simple but accurate model to predict the chance of respiratory insufficiency in the acute stage of the disease based on clinical characteristics available at hospital admission.
Mechanical ventilation (MV) in the first week of admission was used as an indicator of acute stage respiratory insufficiency. Prospectively collected data from a derivation cohort of 397 GBS patients were used to identify predictors of MV. A multivariate logistic regression model was validated in a separate cohort of 191 GBS patients. Model performance criteria comprised discrimination (area under receiver operating curve [AUC]) and calibration (graphically). A scoring system for clinical practice was constructed from the regression coefficients of the model in the combined cohorts.
In the derivation cohort, 22% needed MV in the first week of admission. Days between onset of weakness and admission, Medical Research Council sum score, and presence of facial and/or bulbar weakness were the main predictors of MV. The prognostic model had a good discriminative ability (AUC, 0.84). In the validation cohort, 14% needed MV in the first week of admission, and both calibration and discriminative ability of the model were good (AUC, 0.82). The scoring system ranged from 0 to 7, with corresponding chances of respiratory insufficiency from 1 to 91%.
This model accurately predicts development of respiratory insufficiency within 1 week in patients with GBS, using clinical characteristics available at admission. After further validation, the model may assist in clinical decision making, for example, on patient transfer to an intensive care unit.
Annals of Neurology 06/2010; 67(6):781-7. DOI:10.1002/ana.21976 · 9.98 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is an acute, immune-mediated polyneuropathy that often leads to severe weakness. Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) is a proven effective treatment for GBS (class 1 evidence). However, about 25% of patients need artificial ventilation and 20% are still unable to walk unaided after 6 months. Important clinical factors associated with poor outcome are age, presence of preceding diarrhea and the severity of disability in the early course of disease. These clinical factors were combined in a clinical prognostic scoring scale, the Erasmus GBS Outcome Scale (EGOS).
GBS patients being unable to walk unaided are currently treated with a standard single IVIg dose (0.4 g/kg bodyweight for 5 days). A recent retrospective study in 174 GBS patients enrolled in one of our randomized controlled clinical trials showed that patients with a minor increase of serum IgG level after standard single IVIg dose recovered significantly slower. Additionally, fewer patients reached the ability to walk unaided at six months after correction for the known clinical prognostic factors (multivariate analysis; P < 0.022).
It is yet unknown why some GBS patients only have a minor increase after standard IVIg treatment. By using the EGOS it is possible to select GBS patients with a poor prognosis. These patients potentially may benefit from a second IVIg dose.
A standard dose of IVIG is not sufficiently effective in many GBS patients. Whether these patients might benefit from a second IVIg dose needs further investigation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is generally considered to be monophasic, but recurrences do occur in a presently undefined subgroup of patients.
To determine which subgroup of patients develops a recurrence and to establish whether preceding infections and neurological symptoms are similar in subsequent episodes.
A recurrence was defined as two or more episodes that fulfilled the NINCDS criteria for GBS, with a minimum time between episodes of 2 months (when fully recovered in between) or 4 months (when only partially recovered). Patients with a treatment-related fluctuation or chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy with acute onset were excluded. The clinical characteristics of recurrent GBS patients were compared with those of 476 non-recurrent patients.
32 recurrent GBS patients, who had a total of 81 episodes, were identified. The clinical symptoms in a first episode were similar to the following episodes in individual patients, being GBS or its variant Miller Fisher syndrome (MFS) but never both. While neurological symptoms in subsequent episodes were often similar, the severity of the symptoms and the nature of the preceding infections varied. Recurrent patients (mean age 34.2 years) were younger than non-recurrent patients (mean age 46.9; p = 0.001) and more often had MFS (p = 0.049) or milder symptoms (p = 0.011).
Genetic or immunological host factors may play an important role in recurrent GBS, since these patients can develop similar symptoms after different preceding infections. Recurrences occur more frequently in patients under 30, with milder symptoms and in MFS.
Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry 11/2008; 80(1):56-9. DOI:10.1136/jnnp.2008.156463 · 6.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is an acute inflammatory disorder of the peripheral nervous system thought to be due to autoimmunity for which immunotherapy is usually prescribed. To provide the best evidence on which to base clinical practice, we systematically reviewed the results of randomized trials of immunotherapy for GBS. We searched the Cochrane Library, MEDLINE and EMBASE in July 2006 and used the methods of the Cochrane Neuromuscular Disease Group to extract and synthesize data. Almost all trials used a 7-point disability grade scale. In four trials with altogether 585 severely affected adult participants, those treated with plasma exchange (PE) improved significantly more on this scale 4 weeks after randomization than those who did not, weighted mean difference (WMD) -0.89 (95% confidence interval (CI) -1.14 to -0.63). In five trials with altogether 582 participants, the improvement on the disability grade scale with intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) was very similar to that with PE, WMD -0.02 (95% CI -0.25 to 0.20). There was also no significant difference between IVIg and PE for any of the other outcome measures. In one trial with 148 participants, following PE with IVIg did not produce significant extra benefit. Limited evidence from three open trials in children suggested that IVIg hastens recovery compared with supportive care alone. Corticosteroids were compared with placebo or supportive treatment in six trials with altogether 587 participants. There was significant heterogeneity in the analysis of these trials which could be accounted for by analysing separately four small trials of oral corticosteroids with altogether 120 participants, in which there was significantly less improvement after 4 weeks with corticosteroids than without, WMD -0.82 (95% CI -0.17 to -1.47), and two large trials of intravenous methylprednisolone with altogether 467 participants, in which there was no significant difference between corticosteroids and placebo WMD -0.17 (95% CI 0.06 to -0.39). None of the treatments significantly reduced mortality. Since approximately 20% of patients die or have persistent disability despite immunotherapy, more research is needed to identify better treatment regimens and new therapeutic strategies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pain can be a serious problem in patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). Different pain symptoms and the effect of methylprednisolone on pain are evaluated.
GBS patients were recruited from a randomized placebo-controlled study comparing intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) + methylprednisolone (500 mg for 5 days) versus IVIg + placebo. Presence and severity of pain were prospectively scored at randomization and after 4 weeks. Efficacy of methylprednisolone was evaluated using endpoints: percentage of patients with pain and percentage of patients improving in pain-severity level. Medical records of the subgroup of patients treated in the Erasmus MC were screened retrospectively for different pain symptoms and course. Pain was scored at different time intervals: within 4 weeks before randomization and 0-2, 2-4, 4-24, 24-52 weeks after randomization.
123 (55%) of 223 patients had pain at randomization. In 70%, pain already started before onset of weakness. Methylprednisolone did not show a positive effect on the presence and reduction of pain. In the subgroup of 39 patients, backache (33%), interscapular (28%), muscle (24%), radicular pain (18%) and painful par-/dysaesthesiae (18%) were most frequently present within the period of 4 weeks before randomization. Twenty-six percent had extreme pain 0-2 weeks after randomization. Most symptoms of pain decreased after this period, but painful par-/dysaesthesiae and muscle pain often remained present during at least 6 months.
Pain frequently occurs, often starts before onset of weakness and may cause severe complaints. Especially painful par-/dysaesthesiae and muscle pain may persist for months. Methylprednisolone seems to have no significant effect on the presence and intensity of pain.
Journal of Neurology 10/2007; 254(10):1318-22. DOI:10.1007/s00415-006-0515-2 · 3.38 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is an acute post-infectious immune-mediated peripheral neuropathy with a highly variable clinical course and outcome. We aimed to develop and validate a scoring system based on clinical characteristics in the acute phase of GBS to predict outcome at 6 months.
We studied patients with GBS who were unable to walk independently. A derivation set included 388 patients from two randomised controlled trials and one pilot study. Potential predictors were assessed for their association with the inability to walk independently at 6 months. A simple clinical scoring system was developed on the basis of regression coefficients of predictors in a multivariable logistic regression model. Model performance was quantified with respect to discrimination (area under receiver operating characteristics curve, AUC) and calibration (graphically). We validated our scoring system in a set of 374 patients from another randomised trial.
We included three variables that were predictive of poor outcome at 6 months in our model: age, preceding diarrhoea, and GBS disability score at 2 weeks after entry. Scores ranged from 1 to 7, with three categories for age, two for diarrhoea, and five for GBS disability score at 2 weeks. Predictions corresponding to these prognostic scores ranged from 1% to 83% for the inability to walk independently at 6 months. Predictions agreed well with observed outcome frequencies (adequate calibration) and showed a very good discriminative ability (AUC 0.85) in both data sets.
A simple scoring system for patients with GBS, based on three clinical characteristics, accurately predicts outcome at 6 months. The system could be used to counsel individual patients and identify high-risk groups to guide future trials.
The Lancet Neurology 08/2007; 6(7):589-94. DOI:10.1016/S1474-4422(07)70130-8 · 21.90 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The occurrence of severe fatigue after Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), and its relation with disease course, clinical characteristics, and antecedent infections was studied in 100 GBS patients. Severe fatigue, expressed as a mean Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS) score of 5.0 or more, was present in 60% of all patients. It was more frequently present in females and in patients over 50 years (p < 0.01). There was no significant relationship between fatigue severity and the level of functional disability at nadir, antecedent events or infections, clinical variables, and time to follow-up after GBS.
Journal of Neurology 10/2006; 253(9):1143-6. DOI:10.1007/s00415-006-0163-6 · 3.38 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Guillain-Barré syndrome is an uncommon paralysing illness, usually caused by autoimmune inflammation of nerves. In 25% of patients it leads to a requirement for artificial ventilation. About 5% of patients die and about 10% are left with persistent disability. Corticosteroid drugs (such as prednisolone) reduce inflammation and so could theoretically lessen nerve damage. We found eight trials with 653 participants but only six trials with 587 participants gave information about the primary outcome measure for this review, change in a seven-point disability scale. When the results of these six trials were pooled there was no significant difference in this or any other outcome. This result was considered unreliable because of marked variations between the trials. In four small trials of oral corticosteroids, with 120 participants, in total there was significantly less improvement after four weeks with corticosteroids than without corticosteroids (weighted mean difference of 0.82 of a disability grade less improvement, 95% confidence intervals 0.17 to 1.47). In two large trials with a combined total of 467 participants, there was a trend towards more benefit from intravenous corticosteroids which was not quite significant, weighted mean difference 0.17 (95% confidence intervals -0.06 to 0.39) of a disability grade more improvement after four weeks than with placebo. Corticosteroids were not associated with a significant increase in harm except that in the two trials of intravenous corticosteroids diabetes was significantly more common and hypertension much less common in the corticosteroid treated patients. The lack of more obvious benefit from corticosteroids might be because the drugs have an effect on muscles which counteracts the benefits of reduced inflammation in nerves.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) patients may worsen after initial treatment (treatment-related fluctuation [TRF]). It is difficult to distinguish GBS-TRF from chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy with acute onset (A-CIDP). The authors compared 13 patients with A-CIDP with 11 patients with GBS-TRF and concluded that A-CIDP should be suspected when a patient with GBS deteriorates after 9 weeks from onset or when deterioration occurs three times or more. Maintenance treatment should then be considered.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To assess whether human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DRB1 and HLA-DQB1 alleles confer susceptibility to Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) or are related to specific clinical or serologic subgroups of GBS.
The HLA-DRB1 and HLA-DQB1 loci were genotyped by PCR amplification with sequence-specific primers in 164 well-documented Dutch patients with GBS and 207 healthy Dutch control subjects. Patients with GBS were divided into subgroups based on clinical features, severity of disease, antecedent infection, and anti-ganglioside antibodies. Data were compared with those of all case-control HLA studies in GBS performed previously.
In this case-control study, HLA-DRB1 and HLA-DQB1 alleles did not differ between GBS patients and control subjects. The frequency of HLA-DRB1*01 was increased in patients who needed mechanical ventilation (odds ratio 4.2; 95% CI 1.9 to 9.6; p(c) = 0.02). Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that this association was independent of the severity of paresis and the presence of cranial nerve involvement (all p < 0.05). There was a tendency toward an association between certain HLA alleles and several anti-ganglioside antibodies.
Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II antigens are not a general susceptibility factor in Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS). However, HLA class II alleles may be a determinant in distinct subgroups of GBS, indicating the need for further exploration in large-scale studies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite available treatment with intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg), morbidity and mortality are considerable in patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). Our aim was to assess whether methylprednisolone, when taken with IVIg, improves outcome when compared with IVIg alone.
We did a double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicentre, randomised study, to which we enrolled patients who were unable to walk independently and who had been treated within 14 days after onset of weakness with IVIg (0.4 g/kg bodyweight per day) for 5 days. We assigned 233 individuals to receive either intravenous methylprednisolone (500 mg per day; n=116) or placebo (n=117) for 5 days within 48 h of administration of first dose of IVIg. Because age is an important prognostic factor, we split treatment groups into two age-groups-ie, younger than age 50 years, or 50 years and older. Our primary outcome was an improvement from baseline in GBS disability score of one or more grades 4 weeks after randomisation. Analysis was by intention to treat.
We analysed 225 patients. GBS disability scores increased by one grade or more in 68% (76 of 112) of patients in the methylprednisolone group and in 56% (63 of 113) of controls (odds ratio [OR] 1.68, 95% CI 0.97-2.88; p=0.06). After adjustment for age and degree of disability at entry, treatment OR was 1.89 (95% CI 1.07-3.35; p=0.03). Side-effects did not differ greatly between groups.
We noted no significant difference between treatment with methylprednisolone and IVIg and IVIg alone. Because of the relevance of prognostic factors and the limited side-effects of methylprednisolone, the potential importance of combination treatment with the drug and IVIg, however, warrants further investigation.
The Lancet 02/2004; 363(9404):192-6. DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(03)15324-X · 45.22 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A steady increase in the incidence of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) with a seasonal preponderance, almost exclusively related to Campylobacter jejuni, and a rise in the incidence of laboratory-confirmed Campylobacter enteritis have been reported from Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles. We therefore investigated possible risk factors associated with diarrhea due to epidemic C. jejuni. Typing by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis identified four epidemic clones which accounted for almost 60% of the infections. One hundred six cases were included in a case-control study. Infections with epidemic clones were more frequently observed in specific districts in Willemstad, the capital of Curaçao. One of these clones caused infections during the rainy season only and was associated with the presence of a deep well around the house. Two out of three GBS-related C. jejuni isolates belonged to an epidemic clone. The observations presented point toward water as a possible source of Campylobacter infections.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Campylobacter infections pose an important public health problem in the Netherlands. Approximately 79,000 persons per year are estimated to experience symptoms of acute gastroenteritis. Further annually some 1400 ReA cases, 60 GBS cases and 11 IBD cases are associated with a previous Campylobacter infection. Using a stochastic simulation model the disease burden and the cost-of-illness of Campylobacter infections and its sequelae were estimated. Estimates of the Campylobacter-associated disease burden and costs-of-illness were 1185 DALYs (90% C.I. 693 - 1845 DALYs) per year and some 21 million E (90% C.I. 10 - 38 million E) per year respectively.