Things To Know About Malignant Hyperthermia

Malignant Hyperthermia is a medical condition that causes a severe reaction to medication used as a part of anesthesia utilized during surgery. It elicits a rapid increase in body temperature and severe muscle spasms when the person with malignant Hyperthermia gets anesthesia. 

Specific genes can be responsible for MH, which can only be inherited from parents. If the disease is not treated quickly, it can be life-threatening.

Some people don’t experience any symptoms of MH until they are exposed to anesthesia. Ice packs and certain medications can help drop the temperature to some extent.

What Is The Inheritance Pattern For Malignant Hyperthermia?

People inherit MH with an autosomal dominant pattern. This means, one copy of the modified gene in each cell is enough to cause a serious reaction to some drugs during surgery. In the majority of cases, people inherit the modified gene from their parents who are also at serious risk of getting the disease.

What Are The Symptoms Of Malignant Hyperthermia?

There are several symptoms of MH, which are as follows:

  • An immense rise in body temperature
  • Sweating
  • Lots of confusion
  • Flushed skin
  • Bleeding
  • Increased rate of heartbeat
  • Pain in muscles
  • Brown coloration of urine
  • Muscle weakness or swelling

What Causes Malignant Hyperthermia?

The primary and the only cause of malignant Hyperthermia is mutations in specific genes. If someone in your family is suffering from MH, the chances are high that you too can have the disease. Men usually have higher chances of acquiring the disease than women.

Whenever you undergo surgery, tell your doctor about the concern. He can then use a different medication rather than anesthesia.

Also Read: Dyslexia: Causes, Symptoms & Diagnosis

How To Diagnose MH?

With genetic testing, the doctors diagnose the disease of Malignant Hyperthermia.

Doctors can get a hint of the disease by a blood test. If you don’t notice the early symptoms of the disease, your heart may stop working in between the surgery.

If you are already experiencing some or most of the symptoms of malignant Hyperthermia, the doctors can detect the disease even without any test.

For some patients, doctors prefer a muscle biopsy to diagnose the disease.

What Are The Possible Complications Of Malignant Hyperthermia?

  • Breathing difficulty
  • Death
  • Muscle breakdown
  • Swollen hands and feet
  • Problem with blood circulation and nerve functioning
  • Fluid accumulation in the lungs
  • Blood clotting
  • Acid accumulation in the body fluids
  • Muscle weakness

How To Prevent MH?

The doctors can test all the patients for MH, but this would not be feasible. Instead, some people need such tests before surgery, and they are –

  • People who have someone in their family with MH
  • People who face muscle abnormalities
  • People who have a family history of Hyperthermia or stroke

If you have no family history with malignant Hyperthermia, you cannot predict or prevent the condition. In this case, the moment you realize its symptoms or get the disease, consult your healthcare specialist and get started with the treatment as soon as possible. 

But if you have a close relative with MH, you can take the genetic test before you undergo any surgery.

What Are The Treatments Available For MH?

The only antidote available for MH is Dantrolene. Doctors recommend the administration of the antidote the moment after the diagnosis of the disease. The drug relaxes the muscles, stopping the dramatic increase in the metabolism of tissues. The doctor gives the antidote intravenously until the patient reaches a stabilized state. After that, the medication continues through pills for three more days.

Reducing body temperature with:

  • Ice packs
  • Cooling blankets
  • Cool mist and fans

Utilizing medications for:

  • Keeping the blood pressure under control
  • Ensure proper breathing
  • Rectifying irregularities in electrolytes, such as potassium
  • Tracking rhythm of the heart, blood pressure, acid levels, and kidney functioning



Tags: Malignant Hyperthermia Anesthesia, Malignant Hyperthermia Genetics, Malignant Hyperthermia Risk Factors, Malignant Hyperthermia Treatment

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Janet Fudge

Janet Fudge writes on general health topics for She holds a post-graduate diploma in Public Health with a major in epidemiology. During the outbreak of COVID-19, Janet actively volunteered in vaccination drives throughout the state of Iowa. She lives in Iowa with her husband and two children.