Background and Aims: To evaluate the outcome of patients with Guillain–Barre syndrome (GBS) having respiratory failure treated with modified intubation policy.
Design and Methods: Consecutive patients with GBS having single breath count below 12 and respiratory rate >30/min were included and their clinical details noted. The patients were intubated and mechanically ventilated (MV) if their PaO2 was <60 mmHg on venturi mask, PaCo2 > 50 mmHg or pH < 7.3. Their electrophysiological subtypes and complications were noted. The hospital mortality and 3 months outcome were compared in MV and those could be managed without MV even with respiratory compromise.
Results: Out of 369 patients, 102 (27.6%) patients had respiratory compromise who were included in this study. Of the patients with respiratory compromise, 44 (43.1%) were intubated and mechanically ventilated after a median of 4 days of hospitalization. The median duration of MV was 21 (range 1–88) days. The patients with autonomic dysfunction (56.8% vs. 19%), facial weakness (78% vs. 36.2%), bulbar weakness (81.8% vs. 31%), severe weakness (63.8% vs. 31%) and high transaminase level (47.7% vs. 25.9%) needed MV more frequently. In our study, 6.8% patients died and 26.6% had poor outcome which was similar between MV and non-MV patients. The MV patients had longer hospitalization and more complications compared with non-MV group.
Conclusion: In GBS patients with respiratory compromise, conservative intubation does not increase mortality and disability.