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Eur J Neurol ; 2022 Jul 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1932457


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Many single cases and small series of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection were reported during the coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) outbreak worldwide. However, the debate regarding the possible role of infection in causing GBS is still ongoing. This multicenter study aimed to evaluate epidemiological and clinical findings of GBS diagnosed during the COVID-19 pandemic in northeastern Italy in order to further investigate the possible association between GBS and COVID-19. METHODS: Guillain-Barré syndrome cases diagnosed in 14 referral hospitals from northern Italy between March 2020 and March 2021 were collected and divided into COVID-19-positive and COVID-19-negative. As a control population, GBS patients diagnosed in the same hospitals from January 2019 to February 2020 were considered. RESULTS: The estimated incidence of GBS in 2020 was 1.41 cases per 100,000 persons/year (95% confidence interval 1.18-1.68) versus 0.89 cases per 100,000 persons/year (95% confidence interval 0.71-1.11) in 2019. The cumulative incidence of GBS increased by 59% in the period March 2020-March 2021 and, most importantly, COVID-19-positive GBS patients represented about 50% of the total GBS cases with most of them occurring during the two first pandemic waves in spring and autumn 2020. COVID-19-negative GBS cases from March 2020 to March 2021 declined by 22% compared to February 2019-February 2020. CONCLUSIONS: Other than showing an increase of GBS in northern Italy in the "COVID-19 era" compared to the previous year, this study emphasizes how GBS cases related to COVID-19 represent a significant part of the total, thus suggesting a relation between COVID-19 and GBS.

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry ; 92(7): 751-756, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1269801


OBJECTIVE: Single cases and small series of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) have been reported during the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak worldwide. We evaluated incidence and clinical features of GBS in a cohort of patients from two regions of northern Italy with the highest number of patients with COVID-19. METHODS: GBS cases diagnosed in 12 referral hospitals from Lombardy and Veneto in March and April 2020 were retrospectively collected. As a control population, GBS diagnosed in March and April 2019 in the same hospitals were considered. RESULTS: Incidence of GBS in March and April 2020 was 0.202/100 000/month (estimated rate 2.43/100 000/year) vs 0.077/100 000/month (estimated rate 0.93/100 000/year) in the same months of 2019 with a 2.6-fold increase. Estimated incidence of GBS in COVID-19-positive patients was 47.9/100 000 and in the COVID-19-positive hospitalised patients was 236/100 000. COVID-19-positive patients with GBS, when compared with COVID-19-negative subjects, showed lower MRC sum score (26.3±18.3 vs 41.4±14.8, p=0.006), higher frequency of demyelinating subtype (76.6% vs 35.3%, p=0.011), more frequent low blood pressure (50% vs 11.8%, p=0.017) and higher rate of admission to intensive care unit (66.6% vs 17.6%, p=0.002). CONCLUSIONS: This study shows an increased incidence of GBS during the COVID-19 outbreak in northern Italy, supporting a pathogenic link. COVID-19-associated GBS is predominantly demyelinating and seems to be more severe than non-COVID-19 GBS, although it is likely that in some patients the systemic impairment due to COVID-19 might have contributed to the severity of the whole clinical picture.

COVID-19/complications , Guillain-Barre Syndrome/epidemiology , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/therapy , Female , Guillain-Barre Syndrome/diagnosis , Guillain-Barre Syndrome/therapy , Hospitalization , Humans , Incidence , Italy , Male , Middle Aged , Referral and Consultation , Retrospective Studies