Journal of the Peripheral Nervous System, November 20, 2019
S.E. Leonhard, R.M. Conde, F. de Assis Aquino Gondim and B.C. Jacobs
Background and aims
The Zika virus (ZIKV) epidemic in Brazil in 2015‐2016 was followed by an increase in the incidence of patients with Guillain‐Barré syndrome (GBS). With this national survey study, we aimed to gain a better understanding of how neurologists in Brazil are currently diagnosing and treating patients with GBS, and how this increase in incidence has impacted the management of the disease.
The questionnaire consisted of 52 questions covering: personal profile of the neurologist, practice of managing GBS during and outside of the ZIKV epidemic, and limitations in managing GBS. All 3264 neurologists that were member of the Brazilian Academy of Neurology at the time of the study were invited to participate.
The questionnaire was fully answered by 171 (5%) neurologists. Sixty‐one percent of neurologists noticed an increase in patients with GBS during the ZIKV epidemic, and 30% experienced an increase in problems in managing GBS during this time. The most important limitations in the diagnosis and management of GBS included the availability of nerve conduction studies (NCS), beds in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and referral to rehabilitation centers. Most neurologists did not use a protocol for treating patients with GBS and the treatment practice varied.
Increasing availability of NCS and beds in the ICU and rehabilitation centers, and the implementation of (inter)national guidelines, are critical in supporting Brazilian neurologist in their management of GBS, and are especially important in preparing for future outbreaks.