What exactly is malignant hyperthermia

Malignant hyperthermia explained-Malignant hyperthermia is a rare type of clinical syndrome that occurs in response to particular medications used during general anesthesia.

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A genetic disorder - MH is an inherited genetic disorder triggered by certain anesthetics and/or the drug succinylcholine (a muscle relaxant).

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Routine surgery - The reaction is most often experienced in individuals undergoing routine surgery. It can also occur in the early postoperative period.

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How does MH occur? - In susceptible individuals, the medications induce the release of stored calcium ions within skeletal muscle cells. 

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Symptoms - The resulting increase in calcium concentrations within the cells cause the skeletal muscle fibers to contract.

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Muscle rigidity - Muscle rigidity is commonplace during the onset of MH.

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Heart rate - A fast heart rate, or tachycardia, is also indicative of malignant hyperthermia.

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Additional indicators - Other signs of MH include acidosis (acid buildup), tachypnea (rapid breathing), and hyperkalemia (elevated blood potassium).

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Progression of MH - The progression of the syndrome may be rapid and dramatic. Or its advance maybe slower and not become manifest until after several hours of anesthesia.

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Potentially fatal - MH can induce system-wide organ failure. In some instances, the syndrome is fatal. 

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Treatment of MH - If triggered during an operation, an immediate response is needed to stop the rapid progressive series of chain reactions typical of MH. 

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Oxygen feed-Oxygen may be fed to a patient suffering from MH reactions. This can be through a face mask or more likely given through a tube placed in the windpipe (trachea).

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Extra fluids - Extra fluids may be given through an intravenous line, including chilled fluids to help reduce body temperature.

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Renal problems - Kidney damage or failure is another potential side effect of malignant hyperthermia.

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Blood clot - Possible complications from MH extend to problems with blood clotting and/or excessive bleeding.

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Mortality rate - When MH was first recognized as a complication of anesthesia, the mortality rate was 70-80%, notes the National Library of Medicine.

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