Guillain-Barré syndrome with associated unilateral ptosis without ophthalmoplegia - A rare presentation: A case report and review of the literature

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Abstract

Background: Guillain-Barré syndrome is an acute inflammatory polyradiculoneuropathy. Nearly half of patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome have cranial nerve involvement. However, isolated bilateral ptosis without ophthalmoplegia is a rare manifestation, and isolated unilateral ptosis without ophthalmoplegia in Guillain-Barré syndrome has not previously been reported in the literature. Furthermore, only few cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome with cranial nerve enhancement visualized by gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging have previously been reported. We describe the first reported case of unilateral ptosis without ophthalmoplegia in Guillain-Barré syndrome and associated multiple cranial nerve enhancement seen by gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging. Case presentation: Our patient was a 55-year-old Sinhalese man who was admitted to a tertiary care hospital in Sri Lanka with acute-onset progressive weakness in the lower limbs followed by the upper limbs. He had bilateral symmetrical flaccid quadriparesis with absent reflexes and flexor plantar response. Left-sided isolated partial ptosis without associated ophthalmoplegia was noted with normal pupils. The patient's neurological examination was otherwise normal. A nerve conduction study showed a severe demyelinating type of polyneuropathy. No decremental response to repetitive nerve stimulation was observed, and the result of a single-muscle-fiber electromyogram was negative. A diagnosis of Guillain-Barré syndrome was made, and the patient was treated with intravenous immunoglobulin. His condition gradually deteriorated over the next few days, and he became quadriplegic despite the completion of immunoglobulin therapy. Later he developed multiple cranial nerve palsies, including bi-lateral lower motor neuron type facial nerve palsy, and he required mechanical ventilation. By this time, he had complete left-sided ptosis with a normal right eye. He never developed ophthalmoplegia or ataxia. Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain showed contrast enhancement in the intracranial part of multiple cranial nerve roots and basal leptomeninges. He gradually improved with plasmaparesis, and ptosis was the first to improve. Conclusions: Even though Guillain-Barré syndrome was recognized a century ago, there are still many unanswered questions about it and its florid presentation. Large-scale studies are needed for better understanding of its pathophysiology and prototypes and to find answers for still-unanswered questions. The clinician must have a high index of suspicion and be familiar with mimics and prototypes to diagnose Guillain-Barré syndrome accurately without delay.

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Ralapanawa, U., Kumarihamy, P., Jayalath, T., & Udupihille, J. (2019, July 20). Guillain-Barré syndrome with associated unilateral ptosis without ophthalmoplegia - A rare presentation: A case report and review of the literature. Journal of Medical Case Reports. BioMed Central Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13256-019-2157-x

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