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Aggressive surgical approach for drug-free remission from myasthenia gravis.

By J E Fischer, H T Grinvalski, M S Nussbaum, H J Sayers, R E Cole and F J Samaha


A series of 27 patients with generalized myasthenia gravis is presented. All patients were treated by a sternal split and extended thymectomy and radical mediastinal dissection. The overall drug-free remission rate was 63%, although three additional patients are likely to achieve drug-free remission in the near future, with the total drug-free remission rate then being 74%. Of the remaining patients, all but three improved and require decreased medication, for an improvement rate of approximately 90%. One patient who has not improved had an invasive malignant thymoma. Drug-free remission was achieved in 46% of the male patients and in 82% of the female patients despite that the mean duration of disease was greater than 3.5 years. There was one serious complication, that of sterile sternal dehiscence. There was no mortality. The results suggest that an aggressive, radical surgical approach to myasthenia gravis, even in a group of patients considered somewhat less favorable because of a relatively long duration of disease, can result in a high percentage of drug-free remissions. Radical surgery for myasthenia gravis appears to be the treatment of choice, with medical therapy being reserved for those patients who are not likely to survive operation

Topics: Research Article
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:1493029
Provided by: PubMed Central
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