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Keywords:

  • intensive care;
  • myasthenic crisis;
  • myasthenia gravis

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.

Methods

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.

Results

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.

Conclusions

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.