Hickam's dictum: Myasthenia Gravis presenting concurrently with Graves' disease

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Abstract

SUMMARY

We present two patients with Graves' disease and concurrent myasthenia gravis. The impact of the dual diagnosis on the clinical course and the potential for a delayed diagnosis of myasthenia gravis is discussed. Patient 1, a 28-year-old man was diagnosed with Graves' disease following his second respiratory arrest. His history was strongly suggestive of a second pathology. Patient 2, a 66-year-old Cantonese woman with established Graves' disease presented with thionamide-related neutropaenia. Examination revealed bilateral ptosis and right lateral rectus palsy. Both patients had thyrotoxicosis secondary to Graves' disease with concurrent myasthenia gravis. Although neuromuscular weakness is common in Graves' disease, coexisting myasthenia gravis (MG) is rare and can cause profound morbidity. Ocular signs in both diseases may cause diagnostic confusion although ptosis suggests coexisting MG. In both cases, the thyrotoxicosis delayed the diagnosis of MG.

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