Employment in Myasthenia Gravis: A Systematic Literature Review and Meta-Analysis

Erika Guastafierro, Irene Tramacere, Claudia Toppo, Matilde Leonardi, Renato Mantegazza, Silvia Bonanno, Rita Frangiamore, Alberto Raggi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction: Myasthenia gravis (MG) is an autoimmune disease whose period of typical onset is around 20-40 years (i.e., early onset), thus in the peak of working age, or around 60-80 years (i.e., late onset). However, the information on work-related issues and employment status are sparse and not systematically reported. Therefore, we performed a systematic literature review with meta-analysis to address the employment status of MG patients. Methods: We searched for papers reporting employment status on participants with MG published between January 2000 and May 2019. Information on employment was extracted. Random-effects models were used to produce meta-analytic estimates for the proportion of employed patients. Results: In total, 1,045 records were retrieved, of which 19 fitted the inclusion criteria. In total, 3,600 participants (average age 47.5, range 35-60) were included in the studies and 1,579 of them were employed. The proportion of employed patients varied from 28 to 82%, with an extreme heterogeneity between studies. Overall, the pooled proportion of workers was 50% (95% CI 41-60%). Subgroup analyses suggested a possible, although not significant, higher proportion of workers among women, younger participants, those with a higher level of education, shorter MG duration, and less frequently thymectomized, whereas a lower proportion was observed among those with generalized, bulbar, and respiratory symptoms. Conclusions: The results of our meta-analysis show that the percentage of employment is considerably low if we take into account that the mean age of MG patients involved in the included studies was around 48 years, thus in peak of working life. Therefore, it is important to understand what kind of influence MG exerts on work dynamics.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Employment
  • Meta-analysis
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Systematic review
  • Work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Clinical Neurology


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