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Guillain-Barré syndrome can be difficult to diagnose because several other conditions can cause similar symptoms.

Your GP will refer you to a hospital specialist if they think you might have it or they aren't sure what's causing your symptoms.

Some of the main checks and tests you may need are outlined below.


Your GP or specialist may:

Nerve tests

In hospital, two tests may be carried out to see how well your nerves are working.

These are:

In people with Guillain-Barré syndrome, these tests will usually show that signals aren't travelling along the nerves properly.

Lumbar puncture

A lumbar puncture is a procedure to remove some fluid from around the spinal cord (the nerves running up the spine) using a needle inserted into the lower part of the spine.

The sample of fluid will be checked for signs of problems that can cause similar symptoms to Guillain-Barré syndrome, such as an infection.

Read more about what happens during a lumbar puncture.