Clinical evaluation and management of myasthenia gravis

Muscle Nerve. 2004 Apr;29(4):484-505. doi: 10.1002/mus.20030.


Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a syndrome of fluctuating skeletal muscle weakness that worsens with use and improves with rest. Eye, facial, oropharyngeal, axial, and limb muscles may be involved in varying combinations and degrees of severity. Its etiology is heterogeneous, divided initially between those rare congenital myasthenic syndromes, which are genetic, and the bulk of MG, which is acquired and autoimmune. The autoimmune conditions are divided in turn between those that possess measurable serum acetylcholine receptor (AChR) antibodies and a smaller group that does not. The latter group includes those MG patients who have serum antibodies to muscle-specific tyrosine kinase (MuSK). Therapeutic considerations differ for early-onset MG, late-onset MG, and MG associated with the presence of a thymoma. Most MG patients can be treated effectively, but there is still a need for more specific immunological approaches.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoantibodies / analysis
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Immunotherapy
  • Muscle Fatigue / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Myasthenia Gravis / classification
  • Myasthenia Gravis / diagnosis*
  • Myasthenia Gravis / immunology
  • Myasthenia Gravis / physiopathology
  • Myasthenia Gravis / therapy*
  • Neuromuscular Agents / therapeutic use


  • Autoantibodies
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Neuromuscular Agents