Ascending Paralysis is another name for Guillain-Barre syndrome. Guillain-Barre
Syndrome is a disease of the nervous system due to damage to the myelin sheath around
nerves. The myelin sheath acts as an insulator the same as rubber or plastic around
Guillain-Barre Syndrome is the most frequent acquired (as opposed to inherited) nerve
disease (neuropathy). In many cases it follows shortly after a virus infection. It is also
rarely associated with immunizations, surgery, and childbirth.
Landry ascending paralysis: A particularly virulent form of Guillain-Barre syndrome.
The disorder often begins with a flu-like illness that brings on general physical
weakness, but is then characterized by rapidly progressing paralysis that starts in the
legs and arms, and may move on (ascend) to affect the breathing muscles and face. As with
less severe forms of Guillain-Barre, the exact cause is not yet known but presumed to be
viral and/or autoimmune. Hospitalization is usually required, and treatment is by
plasmapheresis or intravenous gamma globulin (IVIG).