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Case Study #25: Jessie Dyme



Jessie Dyme | 28 years old


Chief Complaint: Jessie presents with increasing weakness in her facial muscles, accompanied by difficulty swallowing and speaking.


Medical History:

  • Jessie has a history of myasthenia gravis, diagnosed two years ago. She underwent a thymectomy last year and has been managing her symptoms with pyridostigmine bromide.


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Nurse's Note: Jessie is experiencing worsening weakness in her facial muscles, leading to difficulty in keeping her eyelids open and speaking clearly. She reports increased fatigue with minimal exertion.


Vital Signs:

  • Blood pressure: 120/80 mmHg

  • Heart rate: 88 bpm

  • Respiratory rate: 16 breaths/min

  • Temperature: 98.6°F (37.0°C)


Provider Orders:

  • Perform an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor test using edrophonium chloride (Tensilon).

  • Administer pyridostigmine bromide as per current dosage.

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Question 1: What is the rationale behind performing the Tensilon test for Jessie?


Question 2: Why is a single-fiber electromyography (EMG) test ordered for Jessie?


Question 3: What is the purpose of increasing the dosage of pyridostigmine bromide for Jessie?


Question 4: Why are corticosteroids prescribed for Jessie despite being on pyridostigmine bromide?

Answers to Questions Below




Answers

Question 1: What is the rationale behind performing the Tensilon test for Jessie?

The Tensilon test involves administering edrophonium chloride to temporarily improve muscle strength and ptosis in patients with myasthenia gravis. This test helps confirm the diagnosis by demonstrating a positive response to acetylcholinesterase inhibition, indicating impaired neuromuscular transmission.


Question 2: Why is a single-fiber electromyography (EMG) test ordered for Jessie?

The single-fiber EMG test is used to detect delays or failures in neuromuscular transmission, providing objective evidence of impaired muscle function in myasthenia gravis. It is a valuable diagnostic tool with high sensitivity in confirming the diagnosis when other tests are inconclusive.


Question 3: What is the purpose of increasing the dosage of pyridostigmine bromide for Jessie?

Increasing the dosage of pyridostigmine bromide helps compensate for the progressive weakness experienced by Jessie. Pyridostigmine bromide, an anticholinesterase medication, inhibits the breakdown of acetylcholine, thereby increasing its concentration at the neuromuscular junction and improving muscle function.


Question 4: Why are corticosteroids prescribed for Jessie despite being on pyridostigmine bromide?


Corticosteroids are prescribed to suppress the immune response and reduce the production of acetylcholine receptor antibodies in myasthenia gravis. They provide long-term management by addressing the underlying autoimmune process. In combination with pyridostigmine bromide, corticosteroids can help improve symptoms and reduce the need for higher doses of anticholinesterase medications.


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