Pain and Discomfort in the Myasthenia Gravis Population
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Pain associated with myasthenia gravis (MG) has received little attention in nursing science. The following project entailed a literature review of 174 published case studies which were analyzed for the inclusion of "pain" and "painful" in the description of symptoms. Of the 174 case studies, 26% reported pain-related symptoms. When muscle and sensory descriptors were used, 72% of the cases reviewed experienced some form of discomfort. Painful conditions were grouped as channel pathologies, gastrointestinal conditions, inflammatory muscle diseases, myopathies and neuropathies. Thymoma and MG combined with channel pathology were associated with muscle descriptors 100% of the time. MG-gastrointestinal pain symptoms were commonly associated with a triad of dysautonomia, gastroparesis, and thymoma. MG with inflammatory muscle diseases associated with a thymoma was identified 71 % of the time and contained muscle descriptors in 85% of these cases. Neurological conditions in MG used the words pain/painful 330/0, sensory 20% and muscle 44% of the time. Use of pain descriptors was found in 4·0% of MG cases without comorbid painful condition and/or thymoma. In conclusion, themes connecting the use of pain/painful, muscle descriptors and sensory descriptors were associated with increased severity of disease, risk of comorbid condition, and risk of thymoma.