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Neurology. 2020 Mar 17;94(11):e1171-e1180. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000008903. Epub 2020 Feb 18.

Clinical and therapeutic features of myasthenia gravis in adults based on age at onset.

Author information

1
From the Neuromuscular Diseases Unit, Department of Neurology (E.C.-V., R.Á.-V., R.R.-G., J.D.-M., L.Q., E.G., I.I.), Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau; Department of Medicine (E.C.-V., R.Á.-V., I.I.), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona; Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Raras (CIBERER) (E.C.-V., R.Á.-V., S.S., C.C., T.S., R.R.-G., J.D.-M., L.Q., E.G., I.I.) and Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Neurodegenerativas (CIBERNED) (C.P., A.L.d.M., A.L.P.-N.), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid; Neurology Department (C.P., B.V.), Neuromuscular Disorders Unit, Instituto de Biomedicina de Sevilla, Hospital U. Virgen del Rocío, CSIC, Universidad de Sevilla; Unitat de Neuromuscular (C.C., M.A.A.), Neurology Department, Hospital Universitari de Bellvitge-IDIBELL, l'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona; Neuromuscular Diseases Unit (A.-G.S., L.G.), Department of Neurology, Institute of Neurosciences, Hospital Universitario Clínico San Carlos, Madrid; Neurology Department (J.P., T.G.-S.), Hospital Clínico, Santiago de Compostela; Neuromuscular Diseases Unit (A.R.-F., A.M.-P.), Department of Neurology, Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol; Department of Medicine (A.R.-F.), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Badalona; Neuromuscular Unit (T.S., A.L.-M.), Neurology Department, Hospital Universitari i Politècnic La Fe; Department of Medicine (T.S.), Universitat de València; Neurology Department (A.L.d.M., A.F.-T.), Donostia University Hospital; Neurosciences Area (A.L.d.M.), Biodonostia Research Institute, University of the Basque Country, San Sebastián; Neurology Department (M.T.G.), Hospital Universitario Reina Sofía, Córdoba; Department of Neurology (I.J.), Complejo Hospitalario de Navarra, Pamplona; Neuromuscular Diseases Unit (G.G.-G.), Department of Neurology, Hospital Universitario Infanta Sofía, Universidad Europea de Madrid, San Sebastián de los Reyes, Madrid; Complejo asistencial hospitalario de Burgos (M.A.M.), Burgos; Hospital Universitario de Gran Canaria Doctor Negrín (M.D.M.), Las Palmas de Gran Canaria; Hospital Central de Asturias (G.M.), Oviedo; and Service of Neurology (A.L.P.-N., Á.C.-A.), University Hospital "Marqués de Valdecilla (IDIVAL)," University of Cantabria, Santander, Spain.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To describe the characteristics of patients with very-late-onset myasthenia gravis (MG).

METHODS:

This observational cross-sectional multicenter study was based on information in the neurologist-driven Spanish Registry of Neuromuscular Diseases (NMD-ES). All patients were >18 years of age at onset of MG and onset occurred between 2000 and 2016 in all cases. Patients were classified into 3 age subgroups: early-onset MG (age at onset <50 years), late-onset MG (onset ≥50 and <65 years), and very-late-onset MG (onset ≥65 years). Demographic, immunologic, clinical, and therapeutic data were reviewed.

RESULTS:

A total of 939 patients from 15 hospitals were included: 288 (30.7%) had early-onset MG, 227 (24.2%) late-onset MG, and 424 (45.2%) very-late-onset MG. The mean follow-up was 9.1 years (SD 4.3). Patients with late onset and very late onset were more frequently men (p < 0.0001). Compared to the early-onset and late-onset groups, in the very-late-onset group, the presence of anti-acetylcholine receptor (anti-AChR) antibodies (p < 0.0001) was higher and fewer patients had thymoma (p < 0.0001). Late-onset MG and very-late-onset MG groups more frequently had ocular MG, both at onset (<0.0001) and at maximal worsening (p = 0.001). Although the very-late-onset group presented more life-threatening events (Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America IVB and V) at onset (p = 0.002), they required fewer drugs (p < 0.0001) and were less frequently drug-refractory (p < 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS:

Patients with MG are primarily ≥65 years of age with anti-AChR antibodies and no thymoma. Although patients with very-late-onset MG may present life-threatening events at onset, they achieve a good outcome with fewer immunosuppressants when diagnosed and treated properly.

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