Thymectomy for myasthenia gravis in the young adult. Long-term results

R. E. Clark, J. P. Marbarger, P. N. West, J. A. Spratt, J. M. Florence, C. L. Roper, T. B. Ferguson, C. S. Weldon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


An 8 year experience with a prospective treatment program for patients with myasthenia gravis is reviewed with particular focus on the results in patients less than 35 years of age. Twenty myasthenic young adults with an average age of 24 years and a duration of symptoms of 22 months, excluding two with the juvenile form, had thymectomy followed by short-term anticholinesterase and long-term prednisone therapy. All of the 18 patients with a short duration of symptoms are in markedly improved condition and 61% of them are in remission after a mean postoperative period of 32 months. The longest follow-up period is 7.3 years. Two patients have mild improvement. There was no correlation between thymic disease and clinical result. Complete en bloc extirpation of all thymic and adjacent tissue through a median sternotomy is advocated. The patients were treated postoperatively with prednisone, 100 mg/day), a regimen which gradually is changed to every other day medication and finally a gradual reduction of dosage. There have been no operative or late deaths and no serious complications of therapy. The effects have been long lasting, with not a single instance of significant recurrence of symptoms of myasthenia gravis 6 months after thymectomy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)696-701
Number of pages6
JournalUnknown Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1980


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