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.
- Bedside test
- Forced vital capacity