Volume 11, Issue 7: Myasthenia GravisAuthor: Samantha Thompson
Myasthenia gravis – not drunk… dying
It’s the start of freshers’ week and a call comes in for an ‘intoxicated female’. On arrival you find a mature student who appears to be drunk. You begin your assessment but she keeps thrusting her phone into your hands, then her condition rapidly deteriorates – could this be something more serious?
Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a chronic, autoimmune neuromuscular condition causing skeletal muscle weakness. When accompanied by weakness in the muscles of respiration, the condition – then known as myasthenic crisis – can be life threatening. The signs of MG can mimic intoxication or stroke and glycaemic emergencies.
This article provides information about the pathophysiology of MG and describes the pathway to myasthenic crisis. Useful practical guidance is given on how best to assess and manage care of the myasthenic patient using a structured assessment with attention to specific key points and potential red flags. There is also discussion on unconscious bias that can adversely impact on clinical decision making, resulting in preventable patient harm. The article will enable you to recognise the signs of MG and provide informed and timely patient care.
To check your answers to the quiz please see the back page of the issue.