Myasthenia Gravis Tests

Myasthenia Gravis Tests: Know All Details

Having a diagnosis is an important step for Living With Myasthenia Gravis (MG). It’s important to get the right diagnosis for your specific type of MG. To know that accurately, a few laboratory and imaging tests are needed. Let's know all about Myasthenia Gravis tests.

What are Myasthenia Gravis Tests?

Myasthenia Gravis tests are procedures or laboratory tests performed to determine if a person has myasthenia gravis. MG tests assess the levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, the underlying cause of the disorder. The tests are also used to distinguish between MG and other neuromuscular disorders. Depending on the individual’s symptoms, the physician will order the appropriate Myasthenia Gravis tests.

Preparation for a Myasthenia Gravis Test

It's important to plan ahead for the Myasthenia Gravis tests, as there may be certain instructions to follow, such as fasting for a few hours in advance. The doctor will provide specific instructions such as:

  • Avoiding caffeine and medication 12 to 24 hours before the test.
  • Eating dinner the night before.
  • Fast for a few hours before the test.
  • Skip medications, supplements, and fluids (except for water) for 8 to 12 hours.

Types of Myasthenia Gravis Tests

The doctor may order one or more of these tests.

Edrophonium Test to Check Acetylcholine Levels

This test helps to assess the amount of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the body. During the test, a doctor will inject the Edrophonium drug, which is a cholinesterase inhibitor. A healthy body will respond quickly to the drug, and the patient's muscle weakness will improve temporarily shortly after the injection.

Neostigmine Test

Similar to the Edrophonium Test, neostigmine is also an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. After the injection of the drug, the doctor will look for evidence of muscle improvement, such as increased muscle strength or improved vision.

Blood Test

This test is used to measure the amounts of muscle specific receptor antibodies present in the patient’s blood. These antibodies are commonly found in people with Myasthenia Gravis and can be used to confirm a diagnosis.

Single Fiber EMG Test

Single Fiber EMG Test is used to determine the electrical response in the muscles of individuals with myasthenia gravis. During the test, a doctor will insert a small needle into the muscle to measure its response when a small current is applied.

Imaging Tests

Imaging tests like CT scan or MRI can be used to determine if the thymus is enlarged. As a thymectomy may help to improve symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis, it's important to diagnose its enlarged condition using imaging tests.

Risks and Benefits of Myasthenia Gravis Tests

The risks associated with this test are minimal and include bruising at the injection site after neostigmine or edrophonium injection. The benefit of taking the Myasthenia Gravis tests is that it can be used to diagnose or rule out MG or other neuromuscular diseases.

Who should take a Myasthenia Gravis Test?

Individuals who are exhibiting symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis should take the tests. Symptoms such as muscle weakness or fatigue particularly in the arms and legs, if affecting vision or other areas of the body, should be discussed with the doctor.

Why Is it important to seek immediate medical attention?

It is important to seek medical attention quickly if you are experiencing symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis. Early diagnosis and treatment can slow down the progression of the disease and help alleviate symptoms and control the disease. Delaying treatment can lead to severe disability.

When should you get a Myasthenia Gravis Test?

If you are experiencing any of the signs and symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis, it's important to consult your doctor immediately for diagnosis and treatment. The doctor may order these tests to confirm a diagnosis of myasthenia gravis.