Characteristics, treatment, and outcomes of Myasthenia Gravis in COVID-19 patients: A systematic review

Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2022 Feb;213:107140. doi: 10.1016/j.clineuro.2022.107140. Epub 2022 Jan 22.


Objective: Recent studies suggest that the clinical course and outcomes of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and myasthenia gravis (MG) are highly variable. We performed a systematic review of the relevant literature with a key aim to assess the outcomes of invasive ventilation, mortality, and hospital length of stay (HLoS) for patients presenting with MG and COVID-19.

Methods: We searched the PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, and MedRxiv databases for original articles that reported patients with MG and COVID-19. We included all clinical studies that reported MG in patients with confirmed COVID-19 cases via RT-PCR tests. We collected data on patient background characteristics, symptoms, time between MG and COVID-19 diagnosis, MG and COVID-19 treatments, HLoS, and mortality at last available follow-up. We reported summary statistics as counts and percentages or mean±SD. When necessary, inverse variance weighting was used to aggregate patient-level data and summary statistics.

Results: Nineteen studies with 152 patients (mean age 54.4 ± 12.7 years; 79/152 [52.0%] female) were included. Hypertension (62/141, 44.0%) and diabetes (30/141, 21.3%) were the most common comorbidities. The mean time between the diagnosis of MG and COVID-19 was7.0 ± 6.3 years. Diagnosis of COVID-19 was confirmed in all patients via RT-PCR tests. Fever (40/59, 67.8%) and ptosis (9/55, 16.4%) were the most frequent COVID-19 and MG symptoms, respectively. Azithromycin and ceftriaxone were the most common COVID-19 treatments, while prednisone and intravenous immunoglobulin were the most common MG treatments. Invasive ventilation treatment was required for 25/59 (42.4%) of patients. The mean HLoS was 18.2 ± 9.9 days. The mortality rate was 18/152 (11.8%).

Conclusion: This report provides an overview of the characteristics, treatment, and outcomes of MG in COVID-19 patients. Although COVID-19 may exaggerate the neurological symptoms and worsens the outcome in MG patients, we did not find enough evidence to support this notion. Further studies with larger numbers of patients with MG and COVID-19 are needed to better assess the clinical outcomes in these patients.

Keywords: Autoimmune Disorders; Coronavirus disease 2019; Diagnostic Testing; Myasthenia Gravis; Neuromuscular Disorders; Systematic Review.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • COVID-19 / complications*
  • COVID-19 / mortality
  • COVID-19 / therapy*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myasthenia Gravis / complications*
  • Myasthenia Gravis / mortality
  • Myasthenia Gravis / therapy*
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Survival Rate
  • Young Adult