Date of Award


Document Type



Physical Therapy


Overground BWST, Guillain Barré Syndrome, overground gait training, Physical Therapy


Background and Purpose: Guillain Barré Syndrome (GBS) is an acute demyelinating disease of the peripheral nervous system. It is characterized by sudden progressive weakness and paraesthesias of the limbs. This case study evaluates the effectiveness of physical therapy (PT) and the use of body-weight support gait training (BWST) in the return to function in GBS patients.

Case Description: The patient was a 42-year-old female who presented to the acute care hospital with sudden onset paresthesias and weakness causing sudden loss of ambulation and functional mobility.

Interventions: Due to decreased activity tolerance, initial PT treatment consisted of passive range of motion and dependent sitting balance in order to prevent contractures and other complications of prolonged bed rest. After three weeks of hospitalization, the patient began to make noticeable gains in muscular strength and functional mobility. At this time, the goal of PT became a return to prior level of function. Due to significant weakness, BWST was deemed appropriate.

Outcomes: Following PT and the use of BWST, the patient was able to increase her strength and functional mobility.

Discussion: The patient responded well to plasmapheresis and made a successful return to prior level of function. Additional research is required to further establish the benefits of PT and use of BWST in the GBS population.