New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center has been internationally recognized as a leader in the diagnosis and treatment of myasthenia gravis for more than 50 years.
Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks specific neurotransmitter receptors that bridge nerve endings and muscle tissues. This in turn reduces the ability of acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter, to stimulate the muscles. Patients with myasthenia gravis experience increasing muscle weakness during activity, which is relieved during rest. The condition has a pronounced effect on muscles related to eye movement, talking, chewing, and swallowing. Other affected muscle groups include those involving breathing, which means that patients may be vulnerable to respiratory paralysis. The exact cause is not fully understood, but the thymus gland, located under the breast bone, plays an important role in the immune system's attack on the acetylcholine receptors.
About 20 people out of 100,000 in the United States have myasthenia gravis, although it may be under diagnosed. Myasthenia gravis can affect any ages, all races, both genders, and does not seems to be genetic. Spontaneous improvement and even remission sometimes happens without specific treatment.
Our team of specialists in neurology, pain management, pulmonology, and critical care determine which treatment option is best for each individual depending on the severity of the weakness, which muscles are affected, and the individual's age and other medical problems.