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Malignant Hyperthermia (MH) or malignant hyperpyrexia is a rare life-threatening condition that is usually triggered by exposure to certain drugs used for general anesthesia — specifically the volatile anesthetic agents and succinylcholine a neuromuscular blocking agent.  Susceptible individuals can be induced by these drugs into a drastic and completely uncontrollable increase in oxidative metabolism within the skeletal muscle.  This means that there would be a sharp spike in cellular respiration in which cells convert biochemical energy from nutrients, into Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP).  If not immediately treated, MH can overwhelm the body’s capacity to supply oxygen, remove carbon dioxide, and regulate body temperature.  This can ultimately result in respiratory collapse tragically leading to death.

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Susceptibility to MH is an inherited disorder, more specifically an autosomal dominant disorder. MH susceptibility is phenotypically and genetically related to central core disease (CCD), an autosomal dominant disorder characterized both by MH signs and myopathy. MH is usually revealed upon or shortly after exposure to certain general anesthetic agents. There is no simple, straightforward test to diagnose the condition. Treatment with dantrolene and other drugs is usually initiated when MH is strongly suspected. Dantrolene and the avoidance of triggering agents in susceptible people have markedly reduced the mortality from this condition. The key to reducing the MH mortality rate, is how to identify if the patient is showing symptoms.  The top symptoms consist all signs of a hypercatabolic state (abnormal increase in metabolic rate)  this includes extremely high fever, increased heart rate, rapid breathing, increased carbon dioxide production, increased oxygen consumption, a sharp increase in the acidity of the patient’s blood, Rhabdomyolysis, and rigid muscles.  These signs can be developed at any point during the administration of anesthesia.  The rate at which the susceptible body reacts to MH is alarmingly fast, but just as fast as the situation can grow, it can end.  The average case of a reaction is over after 7 minutes of the discontinuation of the triggering agent, however a great deal off damage can be dealt to the body due to the immense reaction that occurs. In the medical field, the use of anesthesia is immensely common and integrated.  With Malignant Hyperthermia being a potential threat looming over any and all first time anesthesia patients, it is imperative that staff of a medical facility are trained and informed about the dangers of MH.  If the proper precautions and measures are not taken, then the life of the patient is potentially at risk.  Ensure the safety, security, and livelihood of your patients, as well as your medical facility, and enforce the training of all staff on the proper response to the occurrence of an MH reaction.  Allow MedTrainer to assist you in your efforts to keep the medical field safe, and schedule a demo today!