Research reveals way to speed up treatment of deadly malignant hyperthermia

PARK RIDGE, Ill. Every second counts for anesthesia patients afflicted by the often deadly condition known as malignant hyperthermia (MH). According to research published in the April AANA Journal of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, the intravenous administration of life-saving dantrolene sodium (DS) can occur significantly faster thanks to a new method of warming the diluent that is used to prepare the DS for use.

Malignant hyperthermia is a silent, inherited metabolic disorder of the muscle that is triggered by specific inhaled anesthetics or succinylcholine and can result in a severely high body temperature. Affected individuals usually appear normal and have no functional difficulties in everyday life. However, when these individuals receive anesthesia for surgery or some other procedure, this silent disorder can turn deadly. Treatment with DS, a muscle relaxant that restores a healthy level of calcium in the muscles and reduces high body temperature, prevents mortality when administered properly.

The study, titled "The Icarus Effect: The Influence of Diluent Warming on Dantrolene Sodium Mixing Time," set out to determine the possibility of a more expedient method of warming the diluent in order to mix it with DS, thus saving precious time between the onset of MH and the administration of DS. It was conducted by Kevin Baker, CRNA, MSNA, staff nurse anesthetist for West End Anesthesia Group at St. Mary's Hospital in Richmond, Va.; Donna Landriscina, CRNA, MSNA, assistant professor and assistant director of education in the Department of Nurse Anesthesia, Virginia Commonwealth University, and staff nurse anesthetist at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), Medical Center in Richmond, Va.; Heather Kartcher, RN, BSN, a second year graduate student in the Department of Nurse Anesthesia at VCU; and David Mirkes, RN, BSN, a second year graduate student in the Department of Nurse Anesthesia at VCU.

The researche

Contact: Marlene McDowell
American Association of Nurse Anesthetists

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