Myasthenia gravis (MG) is an autoimmune disorder in which the postsynaptic acetylcholine receptor of the neuromuscular junction is destroyed by autoantibodies. The authors report a case of MG in a pediatric patient who also suffered from Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and is one of a limited number of pediatric patients who have undergone placement of a responsive neurostimulation (RNS) device (NeuroPace).
A 17-year-old female underwent placement of an RNS device for drug-resistant epilepsy in the setting of LGS. Five months after device placement, the patient began experiencing intermittent slurred speech, fatigue, and muscle weakness. Initially, the symptoms were attributed to increased seizure activity and/or medication side effects. However, despite changing medications and RNS settings, no improvements occurred. Her antiacetylcholine receptor antibodies measured 62.50 nmol/L, consistent with a diagnosis of MG. The patient was then prescribed pyridostigmine and underwent a thymectomy, which alleviated most of her symptoms.
The authors share the cautionary tale of a case of MG in a pediatric patient who was treated with RNS for intractable epilepsy associated with LGS. Although slurred speech, fatigue, muscle weakness, and other symptoms might stem from increased seizure activity and/or medication side effects, they could also be due to MG development.