Regular updates by our President, MHAUS staff, and guest contributors.
The claims and opinions expressed in website blogs are those of the authors and not necessarily the views or opinions of MHAUS, its staff or its advertisers.
Thanks to the efforts of many patients and health care providers who have an interest in the problem of MH, many states will declare March to be MH Awareness and Training month. This effort will serve to alert the community of patients and providers to the problem of MH and prevent deaths and disability from MH.
As we begin the New Year and the new decade, it is appropriate to review the accomplishments of the past year and look forward to what lies ahead for the next year(s).
Advances in anesthesia care over the past several decades have changed the way anesthetics are administered. Compared to even three decades ago anesthesiology has changed from an art to a science (although still a somewhat inexact science). One of the crucial developments in anesthesiology that is responsible for the improved outcomes in anesthesia care is the exact measurement of physiologic changes.
Each October thousands of anesthesiologists gather together for five days under the auspices of the American Society of Anesthesiologists for an annual comprehensive meeting on issues related to anesthesiology. The meeting consists of scientific presentations, commercial exhibits, and discussions of political and organizational issues related to the specialty.
In early May 2006 I received a phone call from the Medical Examiner’s office in New York City. The reason for the call was a death of a young man a day or so previously in after surgery in an ambulatory surgery center on the upper East Side of Manhattan.
MHAUS is fortunate to have many of the world's experts on MH serving currently or in the past on our hotline and/or Professional Advisory Council. I will therefore from time to time, ask one of them to fill in for me in writing the monthly blog. Dr. Tom Nelson, who is now retired, spent many years researching the presentation and pathophysiology of MH in animals and in man. I and members of the MH community have learned a great deal from him. I think you will enjoy reading his views on Calcium.
Like the American Society of Anesthesiologists, the Canadian Anesthesiologists Society holds an annual educational meeting for its members. This past June MHAUS exhibited at the Canadian meeting. This was the first time in many years that we elected to attend the Canadian meeting. The reasons for this are several.
There is no doubt that over the past 30 years MH has gone from a virtually unknown, highly fatal problem to one that is well described in every textbook of anesthesia, surgery, medicine, and nursing.
Those of you who are reading this “blog” undoubtedly know that MH is an inherited disorder characterized by abnormal structure and function of a specific calcium channel within skeletal muscle.
It is very common to think about the Malignant Hyperthermia (MH) syndrome as a problem related to anesthesia exclusively. Indeed most of the concerns about MH since its first descriptions in the 1960s centered on the unexpected and often disastrous changes that can occur during the administration of general anesthesia to an otherwise healthy individual.
These direct and apparently straightforward questions have been posed for as many years as I have been involved in the study of MH. If one checks the medical literature, the incidence of MH events ranges from one in 5,000 to one in 100,000 anesthetics. That is quite a wide range. In addition, how many people are at risk for MH is also unclear?