Myasthenia gravis is a chronic condition, but it can go into remission—meaning the signs and symptoms of myasthenia gravis disappear—lasting for several years. Most people with myasthenia gravis are able to gain muscle strength through medication or immunotherapy. The specialists at NYU Langone help to manage your symptoms with medication and develop an ongoing care plan to improve your muscle strength.
Most people with myasthenia gravis visit their care team every few months, depending on the severity of their symptoms and the stage of treatment. If you are able to control your symptoms with medication, for instance, you may follow up with your neurologist every two to three months so that he or she can monitor your symptoms and response to the medication. But if you’re being treated with plasma exchange (also called plasmapheresis) or immunotherapy, you may see your care team weekly for treatment.
Along with medical management of myasthenia gravis symptoms, NYU Langone doctors can provide long-term care to treat any complications that may arise. People with myasthenia gravis are susceptible to extreme muscle failure of the diaphragm and chest muscles that support breathing, which can lead to a life-threatening situation called myasthenic crisis. If this occurs, a ventilator may be needed to assist with breathing until muscle strength returns.
Infection, fever, reactions to medication, or surgery for another health condition can trigger a myasthenic crisis. Plasma exchange and immunotherapy are recommended for treatment of this condition. Both are typically provided as outpatient procedures at NYU Langone.
People with myasthenia gravis are also at risk for developing tumors in the thymus gland—a small organ in the chest responsible for producing immune system cells that is known to play a role in the development of myasthenia gravis. In select cases, surgical removal of the thymus may be needed to improve the weakness caused by the disease.
Our experts follow your care closely to detect any early signs of myasthenic crisis or thymus tumors and take the appropriate measures to ensure your symptoms remain under control.