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Nerve root enhancement on spinal MRI in pediatric Guillain-Barré syndrome.


Guillain-Barré syndrome diagnosis is based on clinical presentation and supportive diagnostic testing. In its early stage, no single, reliable diagnostic test is available. However, a finding of nerve root enhancement on spinal magnetic resonance imaging may be useful. We evaluated the frequency of nerve root enhancement on spinal magnetic resonance imaging in children with Guillain-Barré syndrome. At a single tertiary pediatric center, we conducted a retrospective chart review of children with Guillain-Barré syndrome who had complete spinal or lumbosacral spinal magnetic resonance imaging with gadolinium administration from January 2002-January 2009. Twenty-four consecutive patients were identified. Spinal nerve root enhancement with gadolinium was present in 92% (22/24) of children with Guillain-Barré syndrome on initial spinal magnetic resonance imaging (95% confidence interval, 0.745-0.978). This finding increased to 100% of patients, after two patients underwent repeat spinal magnetic resonance imaging that did reveal nerve root enhancement. Patterns of enhancement were variable, but involved the thoracolumbar nerve roots in all patients. Enhancement of nerve roots with gadolinium on initial spinal magnetic resonance imaging was frequently present in these children with Guillain-Barré syndrome. Spinal magnetic resonance imaging is a sensitive diagnostic test and should be considered an additional diagnostic tool in select cases.


  • Publisher Full Text
  • Authors

    Mulkey SB, Glasier CM, El-Nabbout B, Walters WD, Ionita C, McCarthy MH, Sharp GB, Shbarou RM


    Pediatric neurology 43:4 2010 Oct pg 263-9


    Child, Preschool
    Guillain-Barre Syndrome
    Lumbar Vertebrae
    Magnetic Resonance Imaging
    Retrospective Studies
    Spinal Nerve Roots
    Young Adult

    Pub Type(s)

    Journal Article



    PubMed ID