Myasthenia gravis – treatment of acute severe exacerbations in the intensive care unit results in a favourable long-term prognosis
Background and purpose
Acute severe exacerbations of myasthenia gravis (MG) are common in both early and late onset MG. We wished to examine the current management in the intensive care unit (ICU) of severe exacerbations of MG and to study the long-term prognosis of MG following discharge from the ICU.
We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of all patients admitted to a specialist neuro-ICU with acute exacerbations of MG over a 12-year period.
We identified 38 patients. Over 60% were over the age of 50 years, and MG was newly diagnosed in over 40%. Intubation was required in 63%, and over 90% of patients were treated with prednisolone and/or intravenous immunoglobulin. Four patients died in hospital. The remainder of patients were followed up for a mean of 4 years, and the majority were either asymptomatic or had mild symptoms of MG at clinical review.
Despite the significant morbidity and mortality associated with severe exacerbations of MG, specialized neurointensive care can result in a good long-term prognosis in both early- and late-onset MG.