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Attitudes and Beliefs Toward Thymectomy in the Myasthenia Gravis Patient Registry.

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate patient attitudes and beliefs toward thymectomy for myasthenia gravis (MG).

METHODS: The Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America administered a questionnaire to the MG Patient Registry, an ongoing longitudinal survey of adult MG patients. Questions assessed reasons for or against thymectomy and how hypothetical scenarios would have affected their decision.

RESULTS: Of 621 respondents, 190 (31%) reported a history of thymectomy. Of those who underwent thymectomy for nonthymomatous MG, 97 (51.6%) ranked symptom improvement as most important and 100 (53.2%) ranked reducing medication as least important. Among 431 nonthymectomy patients, the most frequent reason for not undergoing thymectomy was that their doctor did not discuss it (152 of 431 = 35.2%) and 235 (56.8%) said that they would have considered it more strongly if their doctor spent more time discussing it.

CONCLUSIONS: Thymectomies are motivated more by symptoms than by medication, and a lack of neurologist discussion is the most common barrier to thymectomy.

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