ID: 240
Category: Autoimmune Disease
CreatedBy: 1
UpdatedBy: 1
createdon: 14 Jul 2017
updatedon: 16 May 2023

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Author: Khoa Tran
Published Jul 14, 2017
Updated May 16, 2023

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Lambert-Eaton Syndrome

Etymology and Pronunciation

Lambert-Eaton Syndrom (lam-bert ee-ton sin-drohm)

Named after the two physicians who first described it in 1956, namely, Edward Lambert and Lee Eaton

History of Lambert-Eaton Syndrome

Lambert-Eaton Syndrome is a rare neuromuscular disorder that was first discovered in the 1950s by Dr. Lee Lambert and Dr. Edouard Eaton. The doctors were working at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota at the time.

The discovery of Lambert-Eaton Syndrome was made possible thanks to advances in EMG (electromyography) technology. EMG allowed doctors to detect and measure the electrical activity of muscles and nerves. This led to the discovery of the characteristic "decremental response" in the muscle action potential of patients with Lambert-Eaton Syndrome.

Before EMG technology, the symptoms of Lambert-Eaton Syndrome were often misdiagnosed as those of other neurological disorders, such as myasthenia gravis. However, with the use of EMG technology, doctors were able to make an accurate diagnosis and develop effective treatments for the disorder.

Modern Understanding of Lambert-Eaton Syndrome

Lambert-Eaton Syndrome is a rare medical condition that affects the nervous system. It causes muscle weakness and fatigue, frequently making it too hard for the affected individual to reach the same level of functioning as healthy individuals. 

The symptoms of Lambert-Eaton Syndrome varies from person to person and can be hard to identify. Some individuals with the condition may find it difficult to perform activities such as walking, talking, swallowing or even breathing. 

The severity of the condition can also change over time, which can be stressful for some individuals. Some people may find that their symptoms improve over time and others may experience worsening.

Doctors and healthcare professionals may take a variety of different tests and examinations to determine whether or not someone has Lambert-Eaton Syndrome, such as nerve studies and different blood tests.

Causes of Lambert-Eaton Syndrome

The exact cause of Lambert-Eaton Syndrome is not always clear and may require a thorough diagnostic evaluation by a medical professional.

In some cases, the cause could be viral infections, exposure to certain toxins or medications, and certain autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. A significant majority of instances of Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome are linked to a type of cancer known as small cell lung carcinoma.

Treatments for Lambert-Eaton Syndrome

The treatment options for Lambert-Eaton Syndrome are aimed at managing the symptoms and improving the quality of life of the affected individuals.

The primary treatment for Lambert-Eaton Syndrome is through the use of immunosuppressive drugs. These drugs help to reduce the immune system's attack on the neuromuscular junctions, thereby reducing muscle weakness and fatigue. Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) therapy may also be used in some cases to improve muscle strength and function.

Physical therapy is also an essential treatment option for Lambert-Eaton Syndrome. It includes exercises to strengthen the affected muscles and improve mobility. This therapy can help improve the quality of life of individuals with Lambert-Eaton Syndrome.

Apart from the treatment options mentioned above, the use of cholinesterase inhibitors such as pyridostigmine may also be beneficial in some cases. This medication helps improve the communication between the nerves and the muscles, thereby reducing muscle weakness and fatigue.

In severe cases of Lambert-Eaton Syndrome, plasmapheresis or immune globulin may be used to help remove antibodies responsible for this condition. In a few instances, surgery may be needed to remove underlying tumors that contribute to Lambert-Eaton Syndrome.

It is important to note that there is currently no cure for Lambert-Eaton Syndrome. However, with the right treatment, individuals affected by this condition can manage the symptoms and improve their quality of life.


Muscle weakness, especially in the pelvic and thigh muscles, which makes it difficult to walk, climb stairs or rise from a seated position
Muscle Weakness
Trouble swallowing or speaking
Dry mouth
Double vision
Drooping eyelids

Confirmation Tests

- Nerve conduction test
- Electromyography (EMG)
- CT scan
- Lung (pulmonary) function tests
- Muscle biopsy

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