Therapeutic outcomes in thymectomied patients with myasthenia gravis

Ann Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2009 Dec;15(6):373-7.


Purpose: Transsternal thymectomy is well established in the treatment of myasthenia gravis (MG). The objectives of this study were to evaluate the influence and prognostic factors of thymectomy as treatment for MG.

Patients and methods: Surgical results of 54 patients with MG who underwent transsternal thymectomy were retrospectively reviewed. We investigated clinical outcomes of extended transsternal thymectomy in MG, and we analyzed the data to clarify the effect of prognostic factors on clinical outcome.

Results: A total of 54 patients, including 28 males and 26 females, were analyzed. At their last visit, 5 patients (9%) were in complete remission; 36 (67%) reported clinical improvement; and 18 (33%) had no change. There were no operative or late deaths. Clinical improvement was not detected by a patient's age, sex, presence or absence of thymoma, or acetylcholine receptor (AchR) antibodies titer. Patients in which the duration of illness before operation was equal to or less than 24 months (p = 0.018), and patients in the advanced Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America (MGFA) stage (p = 0.014), showed a greater degree of clinical improvement.

Conclusion: Transsternal thymectomy for MG is safe and effective. Those patients with severe symptoms and a shorter duration of illness showed more benefits from thymectomy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myasthenia Gravis / surgery*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sternotomy
  • Thymectomy* / adverse effects
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult