Intrapulmonary Right-Left Shunts in Guillain-Barré Syndrome with Severe Dysautonomia

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Abstract

Introduction

Dysautonomia is a characteristic finding in Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). Sinus tachycardia, blood pressure instability, sustained hypertension or hypotension, cardiac arrhythmias, sweating abnormalities, gastrointestinal or urogenital symptoms, and neurogenic stunned myocardium have been previously described in patients with GBS. To our knowledge, increased intrapulmonary shunts in association with GBS have not yet been reported.

Methods

We present a case of GBS with severe dysautonomia associated with clinical relevant intrapulmonary shunts. Autonomic functions were tested using baroreflex sensitivity and heart rate variability measures. Intrapulmonary shunts were calculated according to the Berggren formula.

Results

Autonomic functions showed excessive sympathetic activation. Intrapulmonary shunts were increased up to six times compared to the norm. Other causes of increased intrapulmonary shunts, such as sepsis, pulmonal or cardiac complications, were excluded during hospitalization.

Conclusion

Intrapulmonary shunts in GBS may relate to sympathetic overactivation and should be anticipated in GBS patients with unexplained respiratory deterioration.

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