COVID-19 in Patients with Myasthenia Gravis

December 8. 2022

Infections can exacerbate symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis (MG). To help understand the effect of a SARS-CoV-2 infection in this population, researchers in Iran analyzed 83 MG patients who tested positive for COVID-19. 

Among the patients in the study, 42% needed hospitalization, 14.5% were admitted to the ICU, and 5% required mechanical ventilation. 80% of hospitalized patients recovered without complications and did not require rehabilitation or nursing care after leaving the hospital. 

COVID-19 infection exacerbated MG symptoms in 19% of patients for 15 days on average. 75% of patients who experienced disease worsening also experienced relief from complications after treatment; two patients died, and two needed rehabilitation and the help of a skilled nurse after leaving the hospital. Analyzed data suggests that exacerbation of MG symptoms was not associated with thymoma, patients’ age, co-morbidities, or duration of disease. Still, older patients or those with a history of thymoma were more susceptible to hospitalization.

Researchers note that patients who took immunosuppressive drugs were more likely to be hospitalized. At the same time, those who received prednisolone were less likely to be hospitalized. Despite immunosuppressive drugs increasing the likelihood of hospitalization, patients who left the hospital did not require any nursing or rehabilitation. Due to this, authors recommend that baseline immunosuppressive therapy should be continued during the course of COVID-19 infection.