We studied 4 siblings (3 men and 1 woman), ages 22 to 43 years, with congenital ptosis, external ophthalmoplegia, proximal muscle weakness and fatigability unresponsive to acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors. Repetitive nerve stimulation showed a significant compound muscle action potential (CMAP) area decrement at 2 or 3 Hz. Nerve conduction studies and concentric needle electromyography were normal, and repetitive CMAPs to single nerve stimulation were not observed. Voluntary single fiber electromyography (SFEMG) showed increased jitter and blocking. Assessment of individual end-plates using SFEMG with intramuscular axonal microstimulation showed no uniform relationship between jitter and the rate of stimulation, consistent with a postsynaptic defect of neuromuscular transmission. Edrophonium eliminated the decremental response to repetitive nerve stimulation, but caused no significant clinical improvement, suggesting an additional mechanism for weakness in these patients.