Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases
Thymectomy in nonthymomatous myasthenia gravis - systematic review and meta-analysis
Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases201813:99
© The Author(s). 2018
Published: 25 June 2018
The objective of this study is to evaluate by means of a systematic review, the efficacy of thymectomy as compared to medical treatment for non-thymomatous myasthenia gravis (MG).
Medline, Embase, and Lilacs were searched for experimental and observational studies that compared non-surgical (drug therapy) and surgical treatment of non-thymomatous MG (thymectomy performed by the transsternal approach). Inclusion criteria were: studies that compared the two types of treatment and had at least 10 adult patients in each group. Exclusion criteria were articles published before 1970, as well as those that included patients treated before 1950. The outcomes evaluated were: remission, and improvement rates. RevMan 5.3 software provided by the Cochrane Collaboration was used. When the heterogeneity between the studies was greater than 75%, a meta-analysis was not performed according to RevMan guidelines.
The total number of patients evaluated in 19 articles selected was 5841 (2911 surgical and 2930 non-surgical). Two included randomized clinical trials showed superiority of the surgical treatment over the non-surgical. Four retrospective studies with 379 patients paired by gender, age, and other confounders, also showed superiority of surgical treatment (OR 4.10, 95% CI 2.25 to 7.44; I2 = 20%). In meta-analyses, remission assessed in 17 studies (5686 patients) was greater in patients who underwent surgical treatment (OR 2.34, 95% CI 1.79 to 3.05; I2 = 56%). For improvement assessed in 13 studies (3063 patients) were not appropriate to carry out the meta-analysis due to the high heterogeneity among the studies in the outcome (87%).
Thymectomy may be considered effective in the treatment for non-thymomatous MG, with remission rate higher than for non-surgical treatment.
Myasthenia gravisThymectomyDrug therapy