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Ear Nose Throat J. 2003 Jun;82(6):433-6.

Malignant hyperthermia and the otolaryngologist.

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  • 1Division of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Box 3805, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


Malignant hyperthermia is a rare disorder that can occur in patients who are sensitive to certain agents used in general anesthesia. The treatment of malignant hyperthermia has not changed over the years, but prevention strategies have evolved. These strategies include an increased emphasis on how patients are managed prior to a surgical procedure, on the selection of the particular anesthetic agent, and on postoperative vigilance. Susceptible patients who undergo simple excisions or a low degree of surgical stress can receive treatment safely in the office or ambulatory surgery center and be discharged the same day, provided that all known triggering agents are avoided. For more extensive procedures that cause a moderate level of surgical stress to susceptible patients, facilities for managing malignant hyperthermia should be readily available. Susceptible patients who undergo high-stress invasive procedures should be hospitalized. Routine preoperative prophylactic drug administration, even with dantrolene, is no longer considered necessary for any susceptible patients. All local anesthetics--including lidocaine, which had been previously contraindicated--are now considered to be safe for use in patients who are susceptible to malignant hyperthermia. In this article, we review the prevention, diagnosis, and management of malignant hyperthermia. We also report our experience in anesthetizing a patient who had a history of malignant hyperthermia--a case that illustrates the uncertainty that can complicate the management of such patients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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