Background: Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a chronic neuromuscular disease. Advances in medical therapy have continuously increased the life expectancy of MG patients, without definitively curing the disease. To analyze life circumstances and quality of life (QoL), a large German MG cohort was investigated.
Methods and sample: In cooperation with the German Myasthenia Association, 2,150 patients with confirmed MG were asked to respond to a mailed questionnaire. The standardized questions related to demographic data, impairments, therapeutic course, use of complementary therapies, illness-related costs, and quality of life (SF-36). In total, 1,518 patients participated, yielding a response rate of 70.6%. The average age was 56.7 years, and the proportion of females 58.6%.
Results: Despite receiving recommended therapy, many patients still suffered from MG-related impairments. In particular, mobility and mental well-being were reduced; moreover, quality of life was markedly reduced. Stepwise linear regression analysis revealed illness stability, impairments, mental conditions, comorbid diseases, and employment to be determinants of QoL.
Conclusion: Results indicate that despite prolonged life expectancy among MG patients, health-related quality of life is low. This outcome resulted mainly from impaired mobility and depression. Physical and mental well-being might be improved by additional therapy options. Additionally, health care resources could be used more efficiently in these patients.