HealthDay News — According to a study published in Neurology: Clinical Practice, patients who have recently undergone surgery — especially those with cancer or autoimmune diseases — experience slightly higher risks of developing Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) soon afterward.

Sara Hocker, MD, an associate professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and colleagues reviewed the incidence of GBS in Mayo Clinic patients within 2 months of having a surgical procedure between 1995 and 2014. 

Those with post-surgical GBS were compared to patients who did not undergo surgery prior to its onset.

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Of the 208 total patients (average age, 55 years) who developed GBS in that time period, 31 had recently undergone surgery. The average time lapse between surgery and GBS onset was 19 days. Notably, 61% of those 31 patients had a known cancer diagnosis, while 29% had a diagnosis of an autoimmune condition, such as ulcerative colitis, type 1 diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis.

“Surgical procedures antedated GBS in 15% of patients, which is unexpectedly high,” the authors write. “History of malignancy or autoimmune disease may predispose to development of post-surgical GBS.”


Nagarajan E, et al. “Guillain-Barré syndrome after surgical procedures.” Neurol Clin Pract. November 23, 2016. doi: 10.1212/CPJ.0000000000000329. [Epub ahead of print]

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