Background: Malignant hyperthermia is a genetically predisposed, potentially fatal disorder triggered by anesthetic agents. The early diagnosis and treatment of malignant hyperthermia is essential, yet often difficult, because the signs and symptoms of this disorder are not unique to the disease. Pediatric cardiac patients may be more difficult to treat since presenting signs and symptoms may be mistaken as exacerbation or deterioration from the underlying disorder.
Objectives: To present a case of malignant hyperthermia syndrome in a pediatric cardiac patient. Specifically to discuss the etiology, pathophysiology, and cardiovascular complications of malignant hyperthermia. More importantly to discuss the diagnosis and clinical management of an acute malignant hyperthermia episode and finally to discuss adequate MH preparedness in order to manage MH episodes.
Case: A seven (7) year old male diagnosed with pulmonary valve stenosis presenting for correction of pulmonary stenosis and aortic stenosis expired from cardiovascular complications after developing hyperthermia, hyperkalemia, hypercarbia and acidosis after exposure to inhaled anesthetic.
Conclusion/Recommendation: Early recognition of an impending MH crisis and its immediate treatment is essential for the patient's survival. If not treated quickly and aggressively MH results in extremely high mortality. As the clinical signs associated with MH are not unique, anesthesiologists must be able to recognize a pattern of signs in order to make a rapid diagnosis.