J Clin Neurol.  2021 Apr;17(2):257-264. 10.3988/jcn.2021.17.2.257.

Epidemiological Features and Economic Burden of Guillain-Barré Syndrome in South Korea: A Nationwide Population-Based Study

  • 1Department of Pharmaceutical Medicine and Regulatory Sciences, Yonsei University Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy, Incheon, Korea
  • 2College of Pharmacy, Yonsei Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Yonsei University, Incheon, Korea
  • 3Graduate School of Public Health, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea
  • 4College of Pharmacy, Ajou University, Suwon, Korea
  • 5Department of Pediatrics, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


and Purpose Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is rare, but its symptoms are severe and they occasionally lead to long-term disability. Country-specific epidemiological evidence is useful for detecting potential problems at the population level. This study investigated the epidemiological and economic characteristics of GBS in South Korea.
The Korean National Health Insurance Service claims data from 2010 to 2016 were used to identify incident cases as newly hospitalized patients with a primary diagnosis of GBS (the 10th revision of the International Classification Disease code of G61.0). New cases were defined as patients not having claim records for GBS within one year prior to the hospital admission for GBS.
The incidence rate increased by 45.6% between 2010 and 2016, from 1.28 to 1.82 per 100,000 population. All age groups other than <20 years showed increasing trends. The incidence rate was highest in those aged 65 years to 74 years. Approximately 72% of the incident GBS cases had antecedent infection within 42 days before GBS was diagnosed. Children younger than 10 years constituted the highest proportion of antecedent infections (93.7%). The average length of stay per GBS hospitalization was 33.5 days. Patients had an average of 7.48 outpatient visits for GBS treatment per year. The economic burden from a societal perspective of treating GBS during the first year was USD 16,428.
The increasing incidence trend and substantial economic burden of GBS strongly advocate the development of effective strategies for preventing and managing GBS.


economic cost; epidemiology; Guillain-Barré syndrome; incidence; South Korea
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