Munson Health
 
Myasthenia Gravis

Back to Document

by Carson-DeWitt R

(MG)

 

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. You may need to see a neurologist. This type of doctor is an expert in diseases of the nervous system. Tests may include:
  • Blood tests
  • Electromyography (EMG) tests—to reveal abnormalities in muscle functioning
  • Repetitive nerve stimulation (a component of EMG)—may show progressively increasing muscle weakness over the course of the test
  • Tensilon test—a dose of a medication called edrophonium chloride is given, which will briefly improve muscle weakness
  • Pulmonary function testing
Imaging tests to see internal bodily structures may be done with:
 

Treatment

Treatment is focused on managing MG symptoms. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options may include one or more of the following:

Plasmapheresis

Plasmapheresis is a procedure that cleans the blood of the abnormal antibodies. This process may need to be repeated at certain intervals.

Surgery

Thymectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the thymus gland. Surgery may improve symptoms or bring remission in some people.

Mechanical Ventilation

This may only be needed if breathing is severely impaired. This can happen during an episode of myasthenic crisis.

Physical and Occupational Therapy

Therapy does not generally alter the course of the disease. It may be needed to help the patient cope with changes in muscle strength. It may also help with learning alternative ways to approach daily activities.

Avoiding Medications That May Worsen Symptoms

Avoid medications that may worsen MG. Some examples include:
  • Beta-blockers
  • Certain antibiotics
  • Certain medications used to treat psychiatric conditions
 

RESOURCES

Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America
http://www.myasthenia.org

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
http://www.ninds.nih.gov

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Myasthenia Gravis Association of BC
http://www.myastheniagravis.ca

Public Health Agency of Canada
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

 

References


Gronseth GS, Barohn RJ. Practice parameter: thymectomy for autoimmune myasthenia gravis (an evidence-based review): report of the Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology. Neurology. 2000;55:7-15.


Myasthenia gravis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated June 27, 2014. Accessed August 21, 2014.


Myasthenia gravis fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/myasthenia%5Fgravis/detail%5Fmyasthenia%5Fgravis.htm. Updated April 16, 2014. Accessed August 21, 2014.


What is myasthenia gravis (MG)? Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America website. Available at: http://www.myasthenia.org/WhatisMG.aspx. Accessed August 21, 2014.

 

Revision Information