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Malignant hyperthermia (MH) is a potentially fatal, inherited disorder usually associated with the administration of certain general anesthetics and/or the drug succinylcholine. The disorder is due to an acceleration of metabolism in skeletal muscle. The signs of MH include muscle rigidity, rapid heart rate, high body temperature, muscle breakdown and increased acid content. Immediate treatment with the drug dantrolene usually reverses the signs of MH. The underlying defect is abnormally increased levels of cell calcium in the skeletal muscle.
There is mounting evidence that some patients will also develop MH with exercise and/or on exposure to hot environments. Without proper and prompt treatment with dantrolene sodium, mortality is extremely high. The best way to protect yourself, your family, your patients and facility, is to be prepared before it's too late.