Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Anesthesia: Malignant Hyperthermia Response

Font Size

Topic Overview

Malignant hyperthermia is a rare, inherited (genetic) disorder that is potentially fatal. It can be triggered by exposure to certain anesthetics, particularly the potent inhalation anesthetics and by succinylcholine (Anectine and Quelicin), a muscle relaxant.

The disorder is caused by too-rapid metabolism by the cells of certain skeletal muscle tissue that leads to a breakdown of these muscles. Signs of malignant hyperthermia include increased carbon dioxide in the blood and lungs and increased blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing. A rapid increase in body temperature (hyperthermia) is frequently a late sign. If untreated, malignant hyperthermia is usually fatal.

Recommended Related to Health A-Z

Lysosomal Free Sialic Acid Storage Disorders

Important It is possible that the main title of the report Lysosomal Free Sialic Acid Storage Disorders is not the name you expected.

Read the Lysosomal Free Sialic Acid Storage Disorders article > >

When triggered by anesthesia, malignant hyperthermia typically occurs shortly after anesthesia is first given. But it can occur at any time during anesthesia or in rare cases may occur as late as 24 hours after surgery.

Malignant hyperthermia is very rare. But you may be at an increased chance of getting it if:

  • You have a medical history that suggests you had malignant hyperthermia before.
  • Someone in your family has a medical history that suggests he or she had this condition before.
  • You have rare conditions or other diseases that affect the muscles.

You can have a test to help find out if you have an increased chance of malignant hyperthermia.

People at risk of malignant hyperthermia may have a family history of unexplained death during anesthesia, an unexpected serious complication during anesthesia, breakdown of muscle tissue during exercise, muscle disorders, heatstroke, or heat intolerance.

Treatment for malignant hyperthermia includes discontinuing the anesthesia immediately, giving the person 100% oxygen to breathe, and administering the medicine dantrolene. The person usually needs to continue receiving dantrolene for 12 to 48 hours and needs to be closely watched in an intensive care unit.

If a person who is at possible risk of malignant hyperthermia needs anesthesia, the condition can be safely and completely avoided by choosing anesthetic agents that do not trigger malignant hyperthermia.

You can get more information about malignant hyperthermia from the Malignant Hyperthermia Association of the United States (MHAUS). Go to the website at www.mhaus.org.

1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 30, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Anesthesia: Malignant Hyperthermia Response Topics

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

feet
Solutions for 19 types.
row of colored highlighter pens
Tips for living better.
build a better butt
How to build a better butt.
man with indigestion
How to keep yours at bay.
MS Overview
Recognizing symptoms.
stressed working woman
And how to fix them?
brain scan with soda
Tips to kick the habit.
richly colored hair
What your hair says about your health?
Woman running
10 ways to boost your metabolism.
lone star tick
How to identify that bite.
young woman in sun
What to watch for.
Girl drinking orange juice
What's in your glass?

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.