How does muscle weakness in Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS) compare to that of myasthenia gravis (MG)?

Updated: May 23, 2019
  • Author: David E Stickler, MD; Chief Editor: Nicholas Lorenzo, MD, MHA, CPE  more...
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In contrast, a significant portion of patients with MG never progress past weakness in the extraocular muscles. At the point of maximum weakness, 25% of patients with MG had purely ocular involvement, and there were no patients with LEMS who had only ocular involvement. [5]

Respiratory muscles are not usually affected. When respiratory muscle function often is involved, the involvement is usually not as severe as with MG. However, rare cases of severe respiratory compromise or respiratory failure have been reported in patients with LEMS. Acute respiratory compromise is the most significant complication of LEMS and the only one that is relevant in the emergency setting. It is usually of iatrogenic origin.

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