Cardiac Arrests and Deaths Associated with Malignant Hyperthermia in North America from 1987 to 2006: A Report from The North American Malignant Hyperthermia Registry of the Malignant Hyperthermia Association of the United States.
Clinical Investigations

Anesthesiology. 108(4):603-611, April 2008.
Larach, Marilyn Green M.D., F.A.A.P. *; Brandom, Barbara W. M.D. +; Allen, Gregory C. M.D., F.R.C.P.C. ++; Gronert, Gerald A. M.D. [S]; Lehman, Erik B. M.S. [//]


Background: The authors determined associated cardiac arrest and death rates in cases from Canada and the United States as reported to The North American Malignant Hyperthermia (MH) Registry and analyzed factors associated with a higher risk of poor outcomes.

Methods: The authors searched the database for AMRA (adverse metabolic/musculoskeletal reaction to anesthesia) reports with inclusion criteria as follows: event date between January 1, 1987, and December 31, 2006; "very likely" or "almost certain" MH as ranked by MH Clinical Grading Scale; location in Canada or the United States; and one or more anesthetic agents given. The exclusion criterion was a pathologic condition other than MH independently judged by the authors. Severe MH outcomes were analyzed as regards clinical history and presentation, using Wilcoxon rank sum tests for continuous variables and Pearson exact chi-square tests for categorical variables. A Bonferroni correction adjusted for multiple comparisons.

Results: Of 291 events, 8 (2.7%) resulted in cardiac arrests and 4 (1.4%) resulted in death. The median age in cases of cardiac arrest/death was 20 yr (range, 2-31 yr). Associated factors were muscular build (odds ratio, 18.7; P = 0.0016) and disseminated intravascular coagulation (odds ratio, 49.7; P < 0.0001). Increased risk of cardiac arrest/death was related to a longer time period between anesthetic induction and maximum end-tidal carbon dioxide (216 vs. 87 min; P = 0.003). Unrelated factors included patient or family history, anesthetic management, and the MH episode.

Conclusions: Modern US anesthetic practice did not prevent MH-associated cardiac arrest and death in predominantly young, healthy patients undergoing low- to intermediate-risk surgical procedures.

(C) 2008 American Society of Anesthesiologists, Inc.