Causes and consequences of diagnostic delay in Guillain‐Barré syndrome in a U.K. tertiary centre

Smirti Bose, Lay Khoon Loo, Yusuf A. Rajabally

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction/Aims: Understanding the potential causes and consequences of diagnostic delay in Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) could improve quality of care and outcomes. We aimed to determine these causes and consequences in our cohort of patients with GBS. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed records of subjects with GBS, admitted to our center at University Hospitals Birmingham, UK, between January 2005 and December 2020. We evaluated time to diagnosis from presentation, factors associated with diagnostic delay, and its potential consequences. Results: We included 119 consecutive subjects. Diagnostic delay at least 5 days from first presentation occurred in 27 of 119 (22.7%) of patients. Diagnostic delay was associated with age >60 years (odds ratio [OR], 3.58; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.44-8.85), pre-existing cardiac/respiratory disease (OR, 4.10; 95% CI, 1.46-11.54), pre-existing diabetes (OR, 10.38; 95% CI, 2.47-43.69), documented normal initial neurological examination (OR, 2.49; 95% CI, 1.03-6.02), initial assessment by primary care (OR, 3.33; 95% CI, 1.22-9.10) and at least one visit for medical attention (OR, 10.29; 95% CI, 3.81-27.77). Diagnostic delay was not associated with length of inpatient stay, intensive care unit admission, ventilation, ability to walk at discharge, or inpatient mortality. Independent associations with diagnostic delay were observed for at least one visit for medical attention (OR, 10.15; 95% CI, 3.64-28.32) and pre-existing cardiac/respiratory disease (OR, 3.98; 95% CI, 1.19-13.28). An association of diagnostic delay with inpatient mortality was ascertained specifically in subjects with classic GBS (OR, 5.33; 95% CI, 1.1-25.87). Discussion: Diagnostic delay in GBS results from patient-specific factors and patient pathways. A high index of suspicion is appropriate for certain patient groups. Prospective studies are needed to further investigate this topic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)547-552
Number of pages6
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number5
Early online date24 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - May 2022

Bibliographical note

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Bose, S., Loo, L.K. and Rajabally, Y.A. (2022), Causes and consequences of diagnostic delay in Guillain-Barré syndrome in a U.K. tertiary centre. Muscle & Nerve. Accepted Author Manuscript, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited


  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Neurology (clinical)
  • Physiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Causes and consequences of diagnostic delay in Guillain‐Barré syndrome in a U.K. tertiary centre'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this