Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disease characterized by production of antibodies to acetylcholine receptors located at the motor end plate in skeletal muscles. The antibodies bind and subsequently induce degeneration of these receptors. Loss of acetylcholine receptors results in inadequate contraction of muscle fibers in response to acetylcholine released from nerve terminals and clinically apparent muscle weakness. Plasma exchange removes the circulating antibodies in myasthenic patients with short-term clinical improvement. Plasma exchange may be indicated in patients with acute exacerbation of neuromuscular weakness with bulbar or respiratory compromise, preoperative optimization prior to thymectomy, and postoperative deterioration following thymectomy or other surgical procedures. Long-term, intermittent plasma exchange for patients who do not adequately respond to standard treatment is another evolving indication.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|State||Published - Sep 19 2000|
- Autoimmune disease
- Myasthenia gravis
- Plasma exchange