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J Neurol. 1997 Feb;244(2):112-8.

Myasthenia gravis: diagnosis and follow-up of 100 consecutive patients.

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1
Department of Neurology, University Hospital, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Abstract

One hundred consecutive patients with myasthenia gravis (MG) referred between 1985 and 1989 were analysed for epidemiological characteristics, evolution of early signs, delay in diagnosis, yield of diagnostic tests and effects of treatment. The female to male ratio was 1.6:1.0. Sixteen patients had a thymoma. Ocular MG occurred in 14. Associated autoimmune diseases were found in 15 patients. In 34% of the women and 10% of the men the diagnosis was delayed for more than 2 years. In the first 3 months progression was more rapid in men than in women. Anti-acetylcholine receptor antibodies were found in 94% of the patients with generalized MG and in 29% of the ocular patients. The neostigmine or the edrophonium test was positive in 84% of the generalized and in 60% of the ocular patients. Electromyography was diagnostic in 71% of the generalized and in 42% of the ocular patients tested. Thymectomy was performed in 56 patients (12 with thymomas). Fifty-one per cent were treated with one or more immunosuppressive drugs, at any time. After a mean follow-up of 9.6 years after onset remissions had occurred in 43%, considerable improvement in 25%, moderate improvement in 20% and 12% remained unchanged. There were no deaths due to MG. Thirty-six per cent remained dependent on immunosuppressive drugs. Medication-free remission was most frequent (35%) in the early-onset (< 50 years) group. Side-effects of pyridostigmine were noted in 34% of 99 patients, of prednisone in 65% of 49 patients, and of azathioprine in 54% of 28 patients, but these necessitated stopping the drug in only 1%, 10% and 14% respectively.

PMID:
9120493
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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