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Malignant Hyperthermia

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Lee Herold, DVM, DACVECC, discusses a case of malignant hyperthermia seen in a patient in the ICU. Triggers of the disorder and treatment options are discussed.

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Lee Herold's picture
Lee Herold


Enrolled: 08/2011

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Ramsay Parr's picture

Thanks for posting. I had an experience with this that I will never forget. The patient recovered well, but it was a little scary. This is rare, but definitely something everyone should be aware of!

Megan Brashear's picture

For sure Ramsay! This is the first case I've had firsthand experience with in over 15 years! Rare, but really scary the destruction that hyperthermia can have on a patient.

Paige Olsen's picture

But it is a somewhat regular thing for greyhounds to just get hot under anesthesia? Or at least I see it often enough that we never plan on giving them extra blankets or heating sources? Even prepare with cooling tools sometimes to not let them go above a regulated temperature during the procedure. Is this the same or something different?

Megan Brashear's picture

Paige, true malignant hyperthermia will result in body temperatures much higher than just staying warmer than anticipated under anesthesia. These animals will have temperatures that quickly rise into the high 100s which can in turn cause cerebral edema, clotting malfunction, and organ system failure. In my experience I have not found that they run 'warmer' under anesthesia than other breeds (feel free to jump in with your experiences everyone!) but their stress in the hospital prior to anesthesia may predispose them to remaining warmer for longer. If left untreated, malignant hyperthermia can quickly lead to death but isn't a common finding in patients.