Malignant Hyperthermia & Symptoms

Malignant hyperthermia is a life-threatening reaction to anaesthetic drugs. The term “malignant” hyperthermia arises from the progressive nature of the condition and its ultimate end in death associated with a very high body temperature if the condition is not recognised and treated promptly.

Between 1: 3,000 and 1: 10,000 people carry the genetic risk of developing malignant hyperthermia during anaesthesia.  Those at risk can receive anaesthetics safely as long as the inhalational anaesthetics and suxamethonium are avoided.

Anaesthetic pre-assessment

It is important to be aware that patients who are susceptible to MH  may not  develop the condition every time they have a general anaesthetic, even when that  anaesthetic includes the triggering drugs.  A history of uneventful previous anaesthetics therefore does not exclude the possibility of MH in future anaesthetics.  This is why every patient attending the anaesthetic preassessment clinic should be asked about a family history of  anaesthetic problems.

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