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Relation between critical illness polyneuropathy and axonal Guillain-Barré syndrome
  1. Department of Neurology
  2. Dokkyo University School of Medicine, Japan
  1. Dr Nobuhiro Yuki, Department of Neurology, Dokkyo University School of Medicine, Kitakobayashi 880, Mibu, Shimotsuga, Tochigi 321–0293, Japan.

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The clinical entity critical illness polyneuropathy occurs almost exclusively in patients in critical care units and has been characterised as a complication of sepsis and multiple organ failure.1 2 Critical illness polyneuropathy may be a common cause of the difficulty in weaning patients from the ventilator, particularly those who show intractable ventilator dependence. All the measures used to prevent or treat sepsis and multiple organ failure are the main methods now used to deal with critical illness polyneuropathy. Knowledge of this type of polyneuropathy is of help in making decisions about respirator techniques, nursing care, prognosis, and overall management. Moreover, recognition of critical illness polyneuropathy indicates the need for physiotherapy, rehabilitation, and other supportive measures as the patient recovers. Boltonet al 1 have made an important positive contribution to the care of patients with critical illness polyneuropathy. The actual aetiology, however, has yet to be determined. The pathogenesis needs to be clarified to treat patients more effectively.

Critical illness polyneuropathy invariably occurs at the peak of critical illness and sepsis, but in Guillain-Barré syndrome there is a brief period of recovery after a relatively minor illness or inoculation. Except for …

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