Diagnosis Myasthenia Gravis

 

Patients who experience undue weakness which improves with rest have the hallmark signs of Myasthenia Gravis (MG) - it is a key sign. A GP (general practitioner, primary care physician) may also suspect Myasthenia Gravis if the patient has impaired eye movements or muscle weakness which is not accompanied by the loss of the ability to feel things. Nevertheless, as Myasthenia Gravis shares signs and symptoms with some other conditions, the diagnosis will need to be confirmed.

Myasthenia Gravis patients whose muscles are weak respond well to the application of ice to the affected area. Some doctors may try this initially as they gather data to help them make a diagnosis.

If the patient sees a physician who suspects possible Myasthenia Gravis, he/she will most likely be referred to a neurologist (a doctor specialized in the human nervous system) to confirm diagnosis. The following diagnostic tests will probably be ordered:

Repetitive nerve stimulation - electrodes are attached to the skin over the affected muscles. Small electrical pulses are sent through the electrodes to measure how well the nerves send a signal to the muscle. The electrical pulses will be applied several times to determine whether signals get worse when the muscle is tired.

Blood tests - the purpose here is to identify certain antibodies. One test is for antibodies against the acetylcholine receptor. This test has a reasonable sensitivity of 80% to 90%. However, it may be as low as 50% in ocular myasthenia patients (those with just eye muscle weakness). Some Myasthenia Gravis patients without antibodies against the acetylcholine receptor have antibodies against the MuSK protein. A blood test may detect those antibodies.

Single-fiber electromyography (EMyasthenia Gravis) - this measures the electrical activity that flows between the brain and the muscle. A very fine wire electrode is inserted through the skin, into the muscle. Some patients may find this test uncomfortable. In a more precise version of this test, called single-fiber Myasthenia Gravis, a single muscle fiber is tested.

 

 

Imaging Scans

A chest X-ray is commonly performed, as it may point towards alternative diagnoses, such as Lambert-Eaton due to a lung tumor, and comorbidity (the presence of one or more disorders/diseases in addition to a primary disease/disorder, or the effect of such additional disorders or diseases).

A CT (computed tomography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan may be performed to identify a thymoma (tumor in the thymus gland). CT or MRI scans are better at detecting thymomas than X-rays.

Pulmonary function test (spirometry) - the aim here is to determine whether the patient is breathing adequately. Myasthenia Gravis patients with severe symptoms are at risk of respiratory failure due to exhaustion of the respiratory muscles.

Muscle biopsy - Only done if the diagnosis is in doubt and a muscular condition is suspected. A needle or small incision is used to remove a small sample of muscle. The patient will receive a local anesthetic.

 

 

More About Myasthenia Gravis

Patient Information Series Myasthenia Gravis

What is Myasthenia Gravis?
 

Myasthenia Gravis: Test, Diagnosis
and Treatment

Role of Thymectomy in Myasthenia Gravis Treatment

 

 

Myasthenia Gravis

 

Signs & Symptoms of Myasthenia

 

Causes of Myasthenia Gravis

   

Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disorder, in which antibodies circulating in the blood cause weakness by blocking
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A symptom is something the patient feels and reports, while a sign is something other people, such as the doctor detect.
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Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disease, an illness that develops when the person's body tissues are attacked by their
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Treatment options for Myasthenia

 

Complications of Myasthenia Gravis

 

   

There is no cure for myasthenia gravis. However, most therapies (treatments) are very effective in controlling symptoms.
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Myasthenic crisis - the respiratory muscles become so weak that the patient cannot breathe properly. This is potentially
Read More...

 


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License Number: U.P State Medical Council (India) No. 27637