Plasma exchange versus intravenous immunoglobulin for myasthenia gravis crisis: an acute hospital cost comparison study

J Clin Neuromuscul Dis. 2011 Dec;13(2):85-94. doi: 10.1097/CND.0b013e31822c34dd.


Objective: To compare the short-term financial costs of treating a patient in myasthenia gravis crisis with intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) versus plasma exchange.

Methods: An itemized comparative cost-minimization analysis of IVIG versus plasma exchange for myasthenia gravis crisis was performed. Calculations were based on each therapy's implementation cost, associated hospitalization times, and predicted cost to treat known complications. A cost superiority determination was proposed based on the total cost profile of each therapy.

Results: The difference in total cost favored IVIG over plasma exchange with an average savings of $22,326 per patient. Sensitivity analysis demonstrated that overall costs are highly dependent on IVIG dosing, hospital lengths of stay, and the number of plasma exchange days required.

Conclusions: The use of IVIG for myasthenia gravis crisis may be a short-term cost minimizing therapy compared with plasma exchange. Additional prospective studies are required to evaluate the extended cost profile and efficacy of these therapies.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Hospital Costs / trends*
  • Hospitalization / economics
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / economics*
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / therapeutic use
  • Myasthenia Gravis / economics*
  • Myasthenia Gravis / epidemiology
  • Myasthenia Gravis / therapy*
  • Plasma Exchange / economics*


  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous