Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Guillain-Barre syndrome can be difficult to diagnose in its earliest stages. Its signs and symptoms are similar to those of other neurological disorders and may vary from person to person.

Your doctor is likely to start with a medical history and thorough physical examination.

Your doctor may then recommend:

  • Spinal tap (lumbar puncture). A small amount of fluid is withdrawn from the spinal canal in your lower back. The fluid is tested for a type of change that commonly occurs in people who have Guillain-Barre syndrome.
  • Electromyography. Thin-needle electrodes are inserted into the muscles your doctor wants to study. The electrodes measure nerve activity in the muscles.
  • Nerve conduction studies. Electrodes are taped to the skin above your nerves. A small shock is passed through the nerve to measure the speed of nerve signals.
Jun. 03, 2014

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