Editorial Views  |   August 2018
Dantrolene and Malignant Hyperthermia Carts: Do We Need Them on Maternity Units?
Author Notes
  • From the Department of Anesthesia, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa.
  • Corresponding article on page 249.
    Corresponding article on page 249.×
  • Accepted for publication May 4, 2018.
    Accepted for publication May 4, 2018.×
  • Address correspondence to Dr. Wong: cynthia-wong@uiowa.edu
Article Information
Editorial Views / Neuromuscular Diseases and Drugs / Patient Safety / Pharmacology
Editorial Views   |   August 2018
Dantrolene and Malignant Hyperthermia Carts: Do We Need Them on Maternity Units?
Anesthesiology 8 2018, Vol.129, 225-227. doi:10.1097/ALN.0000000000002279
Anesthesiology 8 2018, Vol.129, 225-227. doi:10.1097/ALN.0000000000002279
Malignant hyperthermia. It is an anesthetic crisis that has been drilled into our heads since training. It is mostly unpredictable and rare—an individual anesthesia provider may see it once in her/his lifetime or not at all. It is scary because of its rarity and because of its high fatality rate unless recognized early and treated appropriately. Fortunately, fatalities from malignant hyperthermia (MH) have fallen dramatically in the past three decades, primarily because of availability of dantrolene (which first became available in the United States in 1979)1  and the education of both anesthesia providers and operating room nurses. Education has been extensive; in the United States, education has been driven by the Malignant Hyperthermia Association of the United States (Sherburne, New York).2  Founded in 1981 by families of patients who had died from MH and anesthesiologists, the Malignant Hyperthermia Association of the United States has developed and disseminated protocols for the treatment of an acute MH crisis. The protocols have included suggestions for contents of an MH cart,3  as well as a routinely updated, evidence-based protocol for the treatment of MH.4  Accrediting agencies, such as the Joint Commission, use the Malignant Hyperthermia Association of the United States recommendations to assess preparedness for an MH event during survey visits.