Respiratory failure in Guillain–Barre syndrome (GBS) is common. Forced vital capacity (FVC) is the gold standard for monitoring respiratory muscle strength in GBS. In some clinical situations, FVC testing could be delayed or unavailable, thus there is a need for accurate, fast, and device-free bedside respiratory evaluation.
We examined neck flexion strength in 23 GBS patients as a possible predictor of the need for subsequent intubation and as a predictor of FVC change.
Intubation was required by 100% of patients with neck flexion strength of Medical Research Council grade ≤3. A correlation between neck flexion strength and FVC could not be determined.
Significant weakness of neck flexion (Medical Research Council grade ≤3) at the time of admission correlates with poor respiratory status as measured by the need for intubation in patients with GBS.