Assessment of respiratory function using combined oximetry-cutaneous capnography has never been evaluated in patients with myasthenia gravis (MG). We investigated the effects of double filtration plasmapheresis (DFPP) on respiratory status in 18 MG patients. Results of combined oximetry and transcutaneous capnography, MG scores, and acetylcholine receptor antibody titers before and after DFPP treatment were compared. The respiratory monitoring was performed at three time periods (morning, afternoon, and sleep). Mean MG score was markedly lower after DFPP treatment (5.7) than before treatment (7.9). Before DFPP, the minimum pulse oximetric saturation (SpO2) level obtained during the night session was significantly lower (P=0.0513 and P=0.0199) than the levels obtained during the two daytime sessions. A similar phenomenon was noted for maximum transcutaneous carbon dioxide tension (PtcCO2). After DFPP treatment, the maximum and mean PtcCO2 levels were significantly higher (P=0.0056) in the morning than in the afternoon. Of all the respiratory function parameters measured, only minimum SpO2 levels obtained during morning sessions before DFP treatment differed significantly from those obtained after DFPP treatment (P=0.0322). Overall, however, minimum SpO2 levels as well as mean and maximum PtcCO2 levels improved significantly during sleep after DFPP. In conclusion, we found that respiratory function abnormalities were common in myasthenic patients without clinical respiratory symptoms. DFPP treatment resulted in minimal improvement of respiratory parameters.
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