Category: Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Keywords: Myasthenia gravis, Myasthenic crisis, neuromuscular blocker, paralytic, rocuronium, vecuronium, succinylcholine (PubMed Search)
Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disease of the neuromuscular junction, most commonly due to antibodies attacking acetylcholine receptors in the postsynaptic membrane. Up to 30% of patients with myasthenia gravis will experience a myasthenic crisis during their disease course. If rapid sequence intubation is indicated, the unique characteristics of this patient population must be considered in the event use of a paralytic is necessary. All paralytic agents can be expected to last significantly longer, and an unpredictable response may be seen with depolarizing agents - therefore non-depolarizing agents are preferred in this population.
Non-Depolarizing Agents (Rocuronium, Vecuronium)
Depolarizing Agents (Succinylcholine)
Roper J, Fleming ME, Long B, Koyfman A. Myasthenia Gravis and Crisis: Evaluation and Management in the Emergency Department. J Emerg Med. 2017;53(6):843-853.
Abel, Mark, and James B Eisenkraft. “Anesthetic implications of myasthenia gravis.” The Mount Sinai journal of medicine, New York vol. 69,1-2 (2002): 31-7.