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January 1955


Author Affiliations


From the Stockholm Hospital for Infectious Diseases.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1955;73(1):22-27. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1955.02330070024004

SINCE 1916, when Guillain, Barré, and Strohl1 described two cases of radiculoneuritis with special findings in the cerebrospinal fluid (albuminocytologic dissociation), acute radiculitis has received attention throughout the world, innumerable cases having been described in the literature. Guillain's two cases were purely spinal with tetraplegia, and the prognosis quoad vitam did not come into question. But in acute polyradiculoneuritis nerves of vital importance may be attacked, i. e., the vagus, phrenic, and intercostal nerves. In such malignant cases the prognosis quoad vitam is serious, and in the literature the mortality rate varies between 15% and 75% in undifferentiated series.*

During the period from 1947 to March, 1953, the Stockholm Hospital for Infectious Diseases had a total of 15 cases of acute malignant Guillain-Barré syndrome attended by pharyngeal and respiratory paralysis, the patients comprising 11 adults and 4 children aged from 3 to 13 years. Seven (47%) of these patients