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Anesth Analg. 2012 Jan;114(1):94-100. doi: 10.1213/ANE.0b013e3182373b4a. Epub 2011 Nov 3.

Special article: Creation of a guide for the transfer of care of the malignant hyperthermia patient from ambulatory surgery centers to receiving hospital facilities.

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  • 1The North American Malignant Hyperthermia Registry of the Malignant Hyperthermia Association of the United States, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.



Volatile anesthetics and/or succinylcholine may trigger a potentially lethal malignant hyperthermia (MH) event requiring critical care crisis management. If the MH triggering anesthetic is given in an ambulatory surgical center (ASC), then the patient will need to be transferred to a receiving hospital. Before May 2010, there was no clinical guide regarding the development of a specific transfer plan for MH patients in an ASC. MECHANISM BY WHICH THE STATEMENT WAS GENERATED: A consensual process lasting 18 months among 13 representatives of the Malignant Hyperthermia Association of the United States, the Ambulatory Surgery Foundation, the Society for Ambulatory Anesthesia, the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, and the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians led to the creation of this guide. EVIDENCE FOR THE STATEMENT: Most of the guide is based on the clinical experience and scientific expertise of the 13 representatives. The list of representatives appears in Appendix 1. The recommendation that IV dantrolene should be initiated pending transfer is also supported by clinical research demonstrating that the likelihood of significant MH complications doubles for every 30-minute delay in dantrolene administration (Anesth Analg 2010;110:498-507).


This guide includes a list of potential clinical problems and therapeutic interventions to assist each ASC in the development of its own unique MH transfer plan. Points to consider include receiving health care facility capabilities, indicators of patient stability and necessary report data, transport team considerations and capabilities, implementation of transfer decisions, and coordination of communication among the ASC, the receiving hospital, and the transport team. See Appendix 2 for the guide.

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