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Case report
Guillain-Barré syndrome and posterior reversible leukoencephalopathy syndrome: a rare association
  1. Stuti Joshi1,
  2. David Prentice2,
  3. Jolandi van Heerden3 and
  4. Thomas Chemmanam1,4
  1. 1Neurology, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Nedlands, Western Australia, Australia
  2. 2Internal Medicine, St John of God Hospital, Midland, Western Australia, Australia
  3. 3Perth Radiological Clinic, St John of God Hospital, Midland, Western Australia, Australia
  4. 4Neurology, St John of God Hospital, Midland, Western Australia, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Stuti Joshi; soshi24{at}


A 69-year-old woman presented with headaches and visual disturbance in the context of marked hypertension secondary to non-compliance with antihypertensive medications. She developed seizures and hyperreflexia, and MRI brain showed changes consistent with posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES). She was treated with antihypertensives with the resolution of symptoms. Over the following week, she developed progressive distal sensory loss, weakness and areflexia. The cerebrospinal fluid examination demonstrated albuminocytologic dissociation, and electrophysiological findings were in keeping with a diagnosis of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). She was treated with intravenous immunoglobulin with gradual recovery. The co-occurrence of PRES and GBS has only been described in a handful of cases. In the majority of these, the dysautonomia of GBS leads to profound hypertension and subsequently PRES. This is a rare case of PRES preceding and possibly even triggering the onset of GBS. In this report, we review the literature and discuss the potential pathogenic mechanisms for this unusual association.

  • peripheral nerve disease
  • neurology

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  • Contributors SJ can confirm that all authors were involved equally in the design and planning of the paper. SJ and TC were primarily responsible for drafting the paper. TC and DP were responsible for the acquisition of patient data including clinical details and neurophysiology reports. JvH was responsible for the acquisition of radiology images, editing and captioning the figures.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.