[Long-term effects of video-assisted thoracoscopic thymectomy for myasthenia gravis: 5-year follow-up of 18 cases]

Jian-feng Li, Jin-rui Li, Fan Yang, Guan-chao Jiang, Jun Wang
Zhonghua Yi Xue za Zhi [Chinese medical journal] 2006 September 5, 86 (33): 2312-4

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the long-term effects of video-assisted thoracoscopic thymectomy for myasthenia gravis (MG).

METHODS: Eighteen MG patients, 7 males and 11 females, aged 33.4 +/- 9.4 (19 - 48), underwent video-assisted thoracoscopic thymectomy by the same surgical group from November 2001 to May 2005. Right side access was used in 14 of them, left side approach was used in 2, and bilateral approach in 1 of them. The thymus and fatty tissue in the front mediastinum were resected. The medical records were reviewed and telephone survey was conducted to understand the effects. The mean follow-up time was 26.4 +/- 10.9 months.

RESULTS: VATS was successfully conducted except in 1 case. The bleeding volume was less than 50 ml. The average chest tube drainage time was 2.1 +/- 1.2 days, and the mean hospitalization day was 6.3 +/- 3.1 days. Three of the 18 patients needed temporary mechanical ventilation less than 72 hours, and 2 needed reintubation due to either myasthenic or cholinergic crises. Nine of the 18 patients achieved complete relief (50%) and 6 of them (33.3%) had their symptoms greatly improved, and the symptoms of one case remained stable (5.6%), and the overall effective rate was 83.3%.

CONCLUSION: Video-assisted thoracoscopic thymectomy is a safe and effective method for treatment of myasthenia gravis with satisfactory long-term outcomes.

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