Malignant Hyperthermia in Anesthesia

Malignant Hyperthermia as a Killer

In the early years of modern anesthesia, a rare but deadly condition was identified resulting in a severe rise in temperature, pulse rate and blood pressure. These patients also developed a profound muscular rigidity, renal failure, and death. This was, fortunately, a very rare circumstance occurring once in 10,000 to one in 50,000 cases. It became known as Malignant Hyperthermia.

Treatment and Prevention Today

Since that time we have learned a great deal about this disorder. Fortunately, we now have an antidote drug called dantrolene available since the 1970’s. It is now possible to treat this condition before it is a significant problem. In the case of a new onset of Malignant Hyperthermia and this drug is made available theoretically the mortality should be close to zero.