Thymectomy for My asthenia Gravis: 14-year Experience

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Forty-eight consecutive patients with myasthenia gravis (MG) attended by generalized weakness were treated by complete thymectomy, performed transsternally in 46 patients and through a left thoracotomy in two with thymomas. There were no operative deaths. A 12-year-old child with fulminating MG died of acute pneumonia shortly after hospital discharge. Of the remaining 47 evaluable patients, thymectomy resulted in complete remission in six, marked improvement with a reduced need for medication in 20, and mild improvement on the same dosage of medication in 18. Neither the age of the patient, nor the histopathology of the excised thymus, nor the postoperative change in acetylcholine receptor antibody titer were found to have a significant influence on the response to thymectomy. If the ten patients who were 20 years of age or younger were excluded, the patients with a shorter duration of MG achieved a better response to operation. The authors conclude that thymectomy is effective treatment for MG, regardless of the age of the patient or the type of thymic pathology.

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