Clinical Case Database / Category: Patient Management

Differentiating cervical cord compression from Guillain-Barre syndrome

Publication details

C Johnston, P Crawford
Foundation Years Journal, volume 7, issue 7, p.10 (123Doc Education, London, July 2013)


This article gives a brief history of a case of weakness and sensory disturbance, involving all four limbs, presenting to the medical admissions unit. This is followed by a discussion about which symptoms and signs can help to identify cervical cord pathology or a polyradiculopathy such as Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS). In particular, the features that may indicate an acute spinal cord compression requiring emergency management are highlighted.

Access the Clinical Cases Database

A subscription is required to read the full article. Please subscribe using one of the options below.

Foundation Years Clinical Cases Database£29.006 months
Add to cart
Foundation Years Clinical Cases Database£39.0012 months
Add to cart


C Johnston


P Crawford



1. Fuller G. Neurological Examination Made Easy, 4th edn. London UK: Churchill Livingston 2008.
2. Walters R, Wills A, Smith P. Specialist Training in Neurology, 1st edn. London UK: Mosby Elsevier 2007.
3. Malanga GA, Landes P and Nadler SF. Provocative tests in cervical spine examination: historical basis and scientific analyses. Pain Physician 2003, 6:199-205.


Conflict Of Interest

The Journal requires that authors disclose any potential conflict of interest that they may have. This is clearly stated in the Journal’s published “Guidelines for Authors”. The Journal follows the Guidelines against Conflict of Interest published in the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals (

Financial Statement

The authors of this article have not been paid. The Journal is financed by subscriptions and advertising. The Journal does not receive money from any other sources. The decision to accept or refuse this article for publication was free from financial considerations and was solely the responsibility of the Editorial Panel and Editor-in-Chief.

Patient Consent statement

All pictures and investigations shown in this article are shown with the patients’ consent. We require Authors to maintain patients’ anonymity and to obtain consent to report investigations and pictures involving human subjects when anonymity may be compromised. The Journal follows the Guidelines of the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts ( The Journal requires in its Guidelines for Authors a statement from Authors that “the subject gave informed consent”.

Animal & Human Rights

When reporting experiments on human subjects, the Journal requires authors to indicate whether the procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the HelsinkiDeclaration of 1975, as revised in 2008.

About the Clinical Cases Database

T​he Foundation Years Clinical Cases Database is​ a selection of 600 peer-reviewed clinical cases in the field of patient safety and clinical practice, specifically focused on the clinical information needs of junior doctors, based around the Foundation Year Curriculum programme (MMC). The cases have been chosen to align with the Foundation Year Curriculum.

The database is fully searchable, or can be browsed by medical specialty. Abstracts can be read free of charge, however a subscription is required in order to read the complete cases.