Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Medicine (MMed)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Dilraj Sokhi

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Peter Mativo

Third Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Jasmit Shah


Internal Medicine (East Africa)


Background: Myasthenia gravis is an acquired autoimmune neuromuscular disease leading to fatigability of skeletal muscles. The thymus produces autoantibodies that target receptors to Acetylcholine or Muscle Specific Kinase. The resultant fatigability is generalized or limited to the ocular or bulbar muscles. Therapy has been targeted to reduce the autoimmune process by use of immunosuppressive agents or by thymectomy. In the African population, MG involves younger patients, more ocular involvement, is more aggressive and more resistance to immunosuppressive therapy.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective study between January 2009 and December 2019 at Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi. Medical records of patients with MG were obtained using the ICD 10 code search. Other methods of case finding included CARE 2000 SQL queries for patients who have had specific investigations for MG and obtaining proxy information from neurologists. Basic clinico-demographic data were recorded. Other variables such as disease exacerbation and therapies were also obtained. A Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America post intervention status score was obtained based on the information available in the patient chart.

Results:Of 85 patients sampled, [male=56.5% (48/85); mean age 49.6 years], 30.6% (26/85) had ocular MG (MGFA class 1), and 69.4% (59/85) had generalized MG, of which (at onset) 72.8% (43/59) had mild/moderate (class II/III) disease. Mean time to diagnosis was 3.0 months. Only 36.1% (30/85) had a thymus, and were significantly more likely to have: anti-acetylcholine receptor antibodies (89.7% vs 57.4%; p=0.005); generalized MG (93.1% vs 50.0%; p

Conclusion:In our study, thymectomy leads to decline in the dose requirements of pyridostigmine, steroid sparing agents and steroids at last follow up with clinical improvement.