Single count breath test for the evaluation of respiratory function in Myasthenia Gravis: A systematic review

Noel Dishnica, Alysha Vuong, Lucy Xiong, Sheryn Tan, Joshua Kovoor, Aashray Gupta, Brandon Stretton, Rudy Goh, Adil Harroud, David Schultz, James Malycha, Stephen Bacchi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Myasthenia gravis (MG) can have a variety of respiratory presentations, ranging from mild symptoms through to respiratory failure. The evaluation of respiratory function in MG can be limited by accessibility to testing facilities, availability of medical equipment, and facial weakness. The single count breath test (SCBT) may be a useful adjunct in the evaluation of respiratory function in MG. 

Method: A systematic review of the databases PubMed, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library was conducted from inception to October 2022 in accordance with PRISMA guidelines and was registered on PROSPERO. 

Results: There were 6 studies that fulfilled the inclusion criteria. The described method of evaluating SCBT involves inhaling deeply, then counting at two counts per second, in English or Spanish, sitting upright, with normal vocal register, until another breath needs to be taken. The identified studies support that the SCBT has a moderate correlation with forced vital capacity. These results also support that SCBT can assist the identification of MG exacerbation, including via assessment over the telephone. The included studies support a threshold count of ≥ 25 as consistent with normal respiratory muscle function. Although further analysis is needed, the included studies describe the SCBT as a quick bedside tool that is inexpensive and well tolerated. 

Conclusions: The results of this review support the clinical utility of the SCBT in assessing respiratory function in MG and describe the most current and effective methods of administration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-63
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Neuroscience
Early online date23 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • Bedside test
  • Forced vital capacity
  • Neuromuscular
  • Pulmonary


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