To study the extent to which patients experience residual problems in daily functioning several years after having Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) a survey of 123 patients who had had Guillain-Barré syndrome three to six years previously was performed, using the sickness impact profile (SIP) for measuring functional health status and a functional assessment scale (F score) for measuring physical condition. The patients were diagnosed according to the international criteria for Guillain-Barré syndrome and were at the time of diagnosis unable to walk more than 10 metres without support. The physical SIP score correlated positively with final physical recovery (Pearson's r = 0.79). The psychosocial SIP score indicated impairment in all patient groups compared with matched normal control values; they included the group with no, or mild, residual symptoms (P < 0.05). No relation was found between clinical variables related to the severity or duration of Guillain-Barré syndrome and residual psychosocial dysfunctioning, except for a relation with disturbance of sensation in the arms. In conclusion, in many patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome, psychosocial functioning is still seriously affected, even when they have physically recovered, or show only mild residual signs.
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