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Plasma exchange (PE) versus intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) for the treatment of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) in patients with severe symptoms: A systematic review and meta-analysis

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submitted on 2023-05-30, 06:58 and posted on 2023-05-30, 07:30 authored by Hany A. Zaki, Haris Iftikhar, Mavia Najam, Maarij Masood, Nood Dhafi R. Al-Marri, Mohamed Abdelgadir M. Elgassim, Mohamed Fayed, Eman E. Shaban

Background and purpose

Guillain- Barré syndrome (GBS) is a neuropathic condition that leads to the rapid development of impairments and is characterized by weakness and numbness or tingling sensation in the legs and arms and sometimes loss of movement and feeling in the legs, arms, upper body, and face. Currently, the cure for the disease is yet to be developed. However, treatment options such as intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) and plasma exchange (PE) have been used to minimize the symptoms and duration of the disease. Therefore, this systematic review and meta-analysis compared the efficacy of IVIG and PE in treating GBS patients with severe symptoms.


Six electronic databases, including PubMed, Embase, Scopus, ScienceDirect, Medline, and Google scholar, were scoured for articles related and relevant to our research. Additionally, more studies were obtained through the reference lists of the studies retrieved from these electronic databases. Quality assessment and statistical data analysis were conducted using Review Manager software (RevMan 5.4.1).


The search for relevant articles resulted in 3253 articles, of which only 20 were included for review in the current study. A sub-group analysis indicated no significant difference in the curative effect (Hughes score reduces by at least one score 4 weeks after GBS treatment; OR: 1.00; 95% CI: 0.66–1.52; p = 1.00 and Achieving grade 0 or 1 on Hughes scale; OR: 1.03; 95% CI: 0.27–3.94; p = 0.97). Similarly, the statistical showed that the difference in length of hospitalization and duration of mechanical ventilation was insignificant between the IVIG and PE group (Standard Mean Difference (SMD): -0.45; 95% CI: −0.92, 0.02; I2 = 91%; p = 0.06 and SMD: -0.54; 95% CI: −1.67, 0.59; I2 = 93%; p = 0.35, respectively). Moreover, the meta-analysis did not find any significant difference in the risk of GBS relapse (RR: 0.47; 95% CI: 0.20–1.14; p = 0.10) and risk of complications related to the treatment regimens (RR: 1.03; 95% CI: 0.71–1.48; p = 0.89). However, the statistical analysis of outcomes from 3 studies showed that the risk of discontinuation was significantly lower in the IVIG group than in the PE group (RR: 0.22; 95% CI: 0.06–0.88; p = 0.03).


Our study suggests that IVIG and PE have similar curative effects. Similarly, IVIG seems easier to use and thus can be preferred for treating GBS.

Other Information

Published in: eNeurologicalSci
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Open Access funding provided by the Qatar National Library



  • English



Publication Year

  • 2023

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Institution affiliated with

  • Hamad Medical Corporation
  • Hamad General Hospital - HMC
  • Medical Education - HMC