Thymectomy Effective for MG Patients Without Chest Tumor
BOSTON — Thymectomy combined with prednisone therapy in patients with nonthymomatous (no thymus tumor) myasthenia gravis (MG) resulted in better three-year patient outcomes than steroid therapy alone in a randomized trial, researchers reported here.
MG is a rare autoimmune disease that results from a disruption of communication between nerve and muscle. Patients can develop a variety of symptoms, including droopy eyelids, blurred vision, muscle weakness, and difficultly speaking, swallowing, and breathing. It is estimated that the disease affects about 60,000 Americans.
Research as far back as the late 19th century has suggested MG is associated with various abnormalities of the thymus gland, and the first use of thymectomy in patients with nonthymomatous myasthenia gravis was reported by Alfred Blalock, MD, and colleagues in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1941. As reported in that article, of the six patients who underwent the surgery, three had a favorable response.