John D. Chovan, James R. Cacchillo
Malignant Hyperthermia, Medical Emergencies
Anesthesiology | Medical Pathology | Nursing
A crisis of malignant hyperthermia is a medical emergency, and must be treated immediately with a coordinated, multidisciplinary team response in order to give the patient the highest chance for a successful recovery (Dirksen, Van Wicklin, Mashman, Neiderer, & Merritt, 2013). Malignant hyperthermia is defined by Bandschapp & Girard (2012), as “a disturbance of the skeletal muscle calcium homeostasis, triggered by volatile anaesthetics and depolarizing muscle relaxants.” Once a vulnerable patient is exposed to one of these triggering agents, a pathologic hypermetabolic response ensues, and the patient has a rapid increase in oxygen consumption and expired carbon dioxide, hyperthermia, acidosis, muscle rigidity, and hyperkalemia (Bandschapp & Girard, 2012). The event of malignant hyperthermia is very rare, but can easily progress to a life-threatening situation (Cain, Riess, Gettrust, & Novalija, 2014). Many clinicians are unprepared to manage and treat the event because of its rarity and the use of low-frequency, high risk skill set (Cain, Riess, Gettrust, & Novalija, 2014). Dirksen, Van Wicklin, Mashman, Neiderer, & Merritt (2013), claim that malignant hyperthermia occurs in approximately 1:3,000-50,000 procedures in which general anesthetics are used.
Poncsak, Devin, "Malignant Hyperthermia" (2014). Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Student Scholarship. Paper 23.