Miller Fisher syndrome is a rare, acquired nerve disease that is considered to be a variant of Guillain-Barré syndrome. It is characterized by abnormal muscle coordination, paralysis of the eye muscles, and absence of the tendon reflexes. Like Guillain-Barré syndrome, symptoms may be preceded by a viral illness. Additional symptoms include generalized muscle weakness and respiratory failure. The majority of individuals with Miller Fisher syndrome have a unique antibody that characterizes the disorder.
Treatment for Miller Fisher syndrome is identical to treatment for Guillain-Barré syndrome: intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) or plasmapheresis (a procedure in which antibodies are removed from the blood) and supportive care.
The prognosis for most individuals with Miller Fisher syndrome is good. In most cases, recovery begins within 2 to 4 weeks of the onset of symptoms, and may be almost complete within 6 months. Some individuals are left with residual deficits. Relapses may occur rarely (in less than 3 percent of cases).
The NINDS supports research aimed at discovering new ways to diagnose, treat, and, ultimately, cure neuropathies such as Miller Fisher syndrome.
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Last Modified November 6, 2015