Development of recurrent facial palsy during plasmapheresis in Guillain-Barré syndrome: a case report

Weimer, Louis H.; Stevenson, Mary L.; Bogorad, Ilya V.

Introduction: Guillain-Barré syndrome is an immune-mediated polyneuropathy that is routinely initially treated with either intravenous immunoglobulin or plasmapheresis. To the best of our knowledge, no association between plasmapheresis treatment and acute onset of facial neuropathy has been reported. Case presentation: A 35-year-old Caucasian man with no significant prior medical history developed ascending motor weakness and laboratory findings consistent with a diagnosis of Guillain-Barré syndrome. Plasmapheresis was initiated. Acute facial palsy developed during the plasma exchange that subsequently resolved and then acutely recurred during the subsequent plasma exchange. Conclusion: To the best of our knowledge, no prior cases of acute facial palsy developing during plasmapheresis treatment are known. Although facial nerve involvement is common in typical Guillain-Barré syndrome, the temporal association with treatment, near-complete resolution and later recurrence support the association. The possible mechanism of plasmapheresis-induced worsening of peripheral nerve function in Guillain-Barré syndrome is unknown.



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Journal of Medical Case Reports

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August 19, 2013