Postoperative delayed respiratory failure caused by Guillain-Barré syndrome - A case report

Chi Hang Kuok, Pei Shan Tsai, Yung Wei Hsu, Yuan Pi Ko, Chun Jen Huang, Chien Chuan Chen

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Postoperative respiratory failure caused by Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a rare complication after general anesthesia. We report a GBS patient who after receiving an operation for polycystic liver disease under general anesthesia developed weakness of upper and lower extremities on the 3rd postoperative day, with decreased deep tendon reflex, which ultimately evolved into respiratory failure. Slurred speech and bilateral ptosis were also noted. All these manifested an acute peripheral polyneuropathy combined with bulbar involvement. According to the clinical picture, CSF examination and results of nerve conduction tests, Guillain-Barré syndrome was diagnosed. Plasmapheresis was immediately arranged and her motor weakness problem was soon improved after treatment. No neurological sequelae were found two months after discharge. Postoperative muscle weakness is usually caused by residual effects of anesthetic agents or surgical complications. But it may sometimes be related to some rare neurological diseases. To prompt an accurate diagnosis of Guillain-Barré syndrome is important because it can help forestall fatal complications. In addition, the prognosis will be encouraging with early treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-46
Number of pages4
JournalActa Anaesthesiologica Taiwanica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Guillain-Barré syndrome
  • Postoperative complications
  • Respiratory insufficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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