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Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome (LEMS) Differential Diagnoses

  • Author: David E Stickler, MD; Chief Editor: Nicholas Lorenzo, MD, MHA, CPE  more...
 
Updated: May 06, 2016
 
 

Diagnostic Considerations

Other conditions to be considered in the diagnosis of Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS) include the following:

  • Anemia
  • Botulism
  • Cachexia
  • Hypocalcemia
  • Hypokalemia
  • Hypomagnesemia
  • Hyponatremia
  • Hypothyroidism and myxedema coma
  • Paraneoplastic neuropathy
  • Tick paralysis

Differential Diagnoses

 
 
Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

David E Stickler, MD Assistant Professor, Department of Neurosciences, Director of Electromyography Laboratory, Director of MDA Clinic, Director of Neuromuscular Service, Director of ALS Clinic, Medical University of South Carolina

David E Stickler, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Neurology, American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Nicholas Lorenzo, MD, MHA, CPE Founding Editor-in-Chief, eMedicine Neurology; Founder and CEO/CMO, PHLT Consultants; Chief Medical Officer, MeMD Inc

Nicholas Lorenzo, MD, MHA, CPE is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Association for Physician Leadership, American Academy of Neurology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Acknowledgements

Paul E Barkhaus, MD Professor, Department of Neurology, Medical College of Wisconsin; Director of Neuromuscular Diseases, Milwaukee Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Paul E Barkhaus, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Neurology, American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine, and American Neurological Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Neil A Busis, MD Chief, Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine, Head, Clinical Neurophysiology Laboratory, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center-Shadyside

Neil A Busis, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Neurology and American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Pamela L Dyne, MD Professor of Clinical Medicine/Emergency Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine; Attending Physician, Department of Emergency Medicine, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center

Pamela L Dyne, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Emergency Medicine, American College of Emergency Physicians, and Society for Academic Emergency Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

J Stephen Huff, MD Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Neurology, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Virginia School of Medicine

J Stephen Huff, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Emergency Medicine, American Academy of Neurology, American College of Emergency Physicians, and Society for Academic Emergency Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Paul Kleinschmidt, MD Consulting Staff, Department of Emergency Medicine, Womack Army Medical Center

Paul Kleinschmidt, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Emergency Medicine

Disclosure: ScrubCast, INC Ownership interest Other

Donald B Sanders, MD EMG Laboratory Director, Professor of Medicine (Neurology), Division of Neurology, Duke University Medical Center

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Medscape Salary Employment

References
  1. Tarr TB, Wipf P, Meriney SD. Synaptic Pathophysiology and Treatment of Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome. Mol Neurobiol. 2014 Sep 9. [Medline].

  2. Young JD, Leavitt JA. Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome: Ocular Signs and Symptoms. J Neuroophthalmol. 2016 Mar. 36 (1):20-2. [Medline].

  3. Wirtz PW, Sotodeh M, Nijnuis M, Van Doorn PA, Van Engelen BG, Hintzen RQ, et al. Difference in distribution of muscle weakness between myasthenia gravis and the Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2002 Dec. 73(6):766-8. [Medline]. [Full Text].

  4. Sabater L, Titulaer M, Saiz A, Verschuuren J, Güre AO, Graus F. SOX1 antibodies are markers of paraneoplastic Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome. Neurology. 2008 Mar 18. 70(12):924-8. [Medline].

  5. Titulaer MJ, Wirtz PW, Willems LN, van Kralingen KW, Smitt PA, Verschuuren JJ. Screening for small-cell lung cancer: a follow-up study of patients with Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome. J Clin Oncol. 2008 Sep 10. 26(26):4276-81. [Medline].

  6. Keogh M, Sedehizadeh S, Maddison P. Treatment for Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Feb 16. 2:CD003279. [Medline].

  7. Tarr TB, Lacomis D, Reddel SW, Liang M, Valdomir G, Frasso M, et al. Complete reversal of Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome synaptic impairment by the combined use of a K+ channel blocker and a Ca2+ channel agonist. J Physiol. 2014 Aug 15. 592:3687-96. [Medline].

  8. Maddison P, Newsom-Davis J. Treatment for Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2005 Apr 18. CD003279. [Medline].

  9. Illa I. IVIg in myasthenia gravis, Lambert Eaton myasthenic syndrome and inflammatory myopathies: current status. J Neurol. 2005 May. 252 Suppl 1:I14-8. [Medline].

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Characteristic responses to repetitive nerve stimulation in patient with Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome. (A) Responses elicited from hand muscle by stimulation of nerve at 3 Hz. Amplitude of initial response is less than normal, and response is decremental. (B) Responses as in A, immediately after voluntary activation of muscle for 10 seconds. Amplitude has increased. (C) Responses in hand muscle elicited by 20-Hz stimulation of nerve for 10 seconds. Response amplitude is less than normal initially, falls further during first few stimuli, then increases and ultimately becomes more than twice initial value.
Compound muscle action potentials elicited from hand muscle before and immediately after maximal voluntary activation of muscle for 10 seconds. Amplitude is small initially, increasing almost 10 times after activation.
 
 
 
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