On August 30 th Ryan was taken by 911 to the local ED from Kansas University where he had just started his freshman year. Later that evening after testing, he was diagnosed with Guillain Barre Syndrome. They believe the cause to be a mycoplasma pneumonia infection. While he no longer has an ongoing infection, his immune system is attacking his nervous system. Ryan has been transferred to Kansas University Hospital for treatment until he is stable enough to be transported back to Maryland.
Guillain-Barré (Ghee-yan Bah-ray) Syndrome is an inflammatory disorder of the peripheral nerves outside the brain and spinal cord.
GBS is characterized by the rapid onset of numbness, weakness, and often paralysis of the legs, arms, breathing muscles, and face. Paralysis is ascending, meaning that it travels up the limbs from fingers and toes towards the torso.GBS came to public attention briefly when it struck a number of people who received the 1976 swine flu vaccine. Although not in the news as much today, it continues to claim thousands of new victims each year, striking any one at any age, regardless of gender or ethnic background.
The rapid onset of weakness, frequently accompanied by abnormal sensations (numbness, tingling) that affect both sides of the body similarly, is common. Loss of reflexes, such as the knee jerk, are usually found.
How is GBS treated?GBS in its early stages is unpredictable, so except in very mild cases, most newly diagnosed patients are hospitalized. Usually, a new case of GBS is admitted to ICU (Intensive Care) to monitor breathing and other body functions until the disease is stabilized. Plasma exchange (a blood “cleansing” procedure) and high dose intravenous immune globulins are often helpful to shorten the course of GBS.The acute phase of GBS typically varies in length from a few days to months, with over 90% of patients moving into the rehabilitative phase within four weeks. Patient care involves the coordinated efforts of a team such as a neurologist, physiatrist (rehabilitation physician), internist, family physician, physical therapist, occupational therapist, social worker, nurse, and psychologist or psychiatrist. Some patients require speech therapy if speech muscles have been affected.
A message from Ryan: This is the hardest physical and mental test of my life. I know it will make me a stronger person as a result of it.
We will update the site regularly and read Ryan your messages of support. Please continue to keep him in your thoughts and prayers.