Myasthenia Gravis

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Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a chronic neuromuscular disorder characterized by fluctuating skeletal muscle weakness and fatigue. This rare autoimmune condition can present a diagnostic challenge for the advanced practice nurse (APN). Because of its low incidence in clinical practice and frequently unrecognized symptoms, a delay of 1 to 2 years prior to diagnosis is not uncommon. Recognition of the clinical features is a key component of prompt diagnosis. To avoid delay in treatment, APNs should be aware of variations in MG symptoms and the tools used to confirm a suspected diagnosis. Because patients benefit from the care of neuromuscular specialists, APNs are not expected to be experts within MG treatment. But knowledge of general treatment principles affords the APN an opportunity to collaborate with the neuromuscular specialist to provide care for patients with MG. Using an individual example, this article reviews the experience of an older adult with MG from clinical presentation through treatment.