Myasthenia Gravis

Also known as: grave muscle weakness, MG

What is myasthenia gravis?

Myasthenia gravis is an uncommon chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease in children of all ages, ethnicities and genders. MG is characterized by muscle weakness of varying degree in many different areas of the body, it commonly affects the eyes, mouth, throat, arms and legs. MG tends to get worse during activity and improves after rest. There are 3 types of myasthenia gravis in children:

  1. Transient Neonatal MG, a temporary form of MG that occurs in babies born to mothers with MG.

  2. Juvenile MG, a lifelong autoimmune disorder that frequently occurs in white teenage girls.

  3. Congenital MG, a very rare form which starts at birth, is lifelong, is not an autoimmune disease but is inherited from an abnormal gene received from each parent.
     

 

What causes myasthenia gravis? 

What causes the autoimmune disorder to occur, is unknown.

 

What are the symptoms of myasthenia gravis? 

  1. In Transient Neonatal MG, babies have muscle weakness, difficulty sucking, or breathing which may require artificial mechanical breathing help. Transient Neonatal MG tends to improve over weeks to months as the mother's antibodies disappear normally over time.

  2. Juvenile MG tends to start slowly over weeks. Typical signs include infants becoming tired after very little activity, or having difficulty chewing or swallowing. Droopy eyelids may be noted and all symptoms tend to be less in the morning and get worse as the day wears on.

  3. Congenital MG presents with muscle weakness usually noted at or soon after birth, with delays in sitting, crawling or walking. There may be difficulty with swallowing and/or breathing with poor head control and droopy eyelids.
     

 

What are myasthenia gravis care options? 

Transient Neonatal MG will improve over time and may or may not (depending on severity of symptoms) require treatment.
While no cure exists for the other forms of MG, breathing support (assisted ventilation), nutritional help, medications (acetylcholine esterase inhibitors-pyridostigmine), intravenous high-dose immune globulin and/or steroids, plasmapharesis (to remove the abnormal antibodies from the blood) and thymectomy (surgical removal of the thymus gland) are all  available to optimize your child’s health.


Upcoming Events

Best Practices in Pediatric Neurorehabilitation Symposium

This one day course will include educational sessions, case studies, and panel discussions that highlight evidence-based information for managing Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other related disabilities for children ages birth to 5.

Learn more and register

Introduction to Conscious Discipline

This workshop is designed to introduce you to a “better way” by providing an overview of Conscious Discipline® created by Dr. Becky Bailey. You will learn basic information about the human brain and about social emotional intelligence in order to have more tools to discipline your children effectively.

Learn more and register

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 3/23/2018 2:15:53 PM

From the Newsdesk

BWS Family Conference
07/20/2018 — This conference is designed to provide individuals with Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome (BWS) and their family’s up-to-date information about the possible aspects of BWS and their management.  
Medical Mission to Algeria Helps Children in Need of Spinal Surgeries
03/06/2018 — A group of children in Algeria who underwent complex surgeries as part of a 2016 U.S.-sponsored medical mission have many reasons to celebrate, and can do so with better movement of their limbs.