The Guillain-Barré Syndrome/Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy Foundation International has designated The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) as one of seven initial Centers of Excellence for the diagnosis and treatment of two inflammatory disorders.
UTHealth, the only Center of Excellence in Texas, will be part of a worldwide network to provide expert diagnosis and management of inflammatory neuropathies for patients who are unable to consult with medical experts in the field in their own communities. The centers specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) and Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP) and variants. At UTHealth’s Center of Excellence, patients will be seen at adult and pediatric clinics of UT Physicians, the Department of Neurology and primary teaching hospitals Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital and Lyndon B. Johnson General Hospital.
Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS)
GBS is an autoimmune disorder affecting peripheral nerves. GBS is the commonest cause of acute flaccid paralysis in the world including USA. The symptoms start rapidly and typically include numbness and tingling and weakness that often start in the legs and spread to other parts of the body including arms, respiratory, and facial muscles. In some patients this is a life threatening condition due to weakness of respiratory muscles and autonomic disturbances affecting heart and blood pressure. About one-third of the patients require respiratory support with a ventilator during the course of GBS. Virtually all patients diagnosed with GBS require admission to the hospital. Nerve conductions, lumbar puncture, and blood work up are performed to confirm the diagnosis and exclude other conditions that can mimic GBS. There are two immunomodulatory treatments, plasma exchange and IVIG, which have been shown to be beneficial in clinical trials that are administered to patients with GBS.
Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP)
CIDP is a chronic disorder affecting peripheral nerves. This is also considered an autoimmune disease in which immune effectors attack and injure covering of the nerves called myelin. Clinically the patients experience progressive muscle weakness, sensory disturbances such as tingling and numbness, and walking difficulty. In typical cases symptoms progress over two or more months. Neurological evaluation include nerve conduction and EMG test, spinal tap, blood and urine testing, and in some cases nerve and muscle biopsy to confirm the diagnosis and exclude other conditions that can resemble CIDP. Chronic treatment is often necessary and primary medications include corticosteroids such as prednisone, IVIG, and plasma exchange. In some patients use of chemotherpuetic agents is necessary to control the disease. In majority of patients work up and treatment can be performed on outpatient basis.
UT Physicians Neurology Clinic
6410 Fannin, Suite 1014
Houston, TX 77030