Penn Presbyterian Medical Center has been named a Center of Excellence by the GBS/CIDP Foundation International in recognition of the excellent work led by Sami L. Khella, MD, chief of Neurology at PPMC, in treating rare neuromuscular disorders like Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP).

GBS is a rare inflammatory disorder in which the immune system attacks the peripheral nerves, damaging the myelin sheath and causing rapidly progressive numbness, weakness, and paralysis. Though the exact cause is unknown, GBS most often appears shortly following a respiratory or viral infection. When treated quickly with a combination of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) or plasma exchange and physical therapy, most patients make a full recovery. CIDP is considered the chronic counterpart to acute GBS, progressing gradually over time. Patients may experience bouts of CIDP with periods of recovery in between, but treatments like corticosteroids, IVIG, plasma exchange, and physical therapy can keep the condition under control.

Early diagnosis is key to shortening the recovery time and limiting disability, so the foundation aims to connect GBS and CIDP patients with resources and experts who can offer the latest advancements in treatment. Fewer than 60 hospitals worldwide have made it to the foundation’s short-list of Centers of Excellence, but Penn Medicine has nabbed two spots with the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and now PPMC.

“This new designation is exciting because it will inspire confidence in patients that they can rely on us to help them make or confirm their diagnoses, provide them with personalized care that will best meet their needs, and enroll them in clinical trials to ensure they have access to the most cutting-edge treatments,” Khella said.

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