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Definition of malignant hyperthermia

Created: 5/4/2004

Malignant hyperthermia is typically a fulminant life-threatening disease, also referred to as a syndrome, which occurs when a person with malignant hyperthermia susceptibility trait is exposed to triggering factors, which include most inhalational anaesthetics, succinylcholine and, rarely, stress.

Classic malignant hyperthermia is characterised by hypermetabolism, muscle rigidity, muscle injury and increased sympathetic nervous system activity. Hypermetabolism, reflected by elevated carbon dioxide production, precedes the increase in body temperature.

The condition was first recognised in 1960 in Australia


[i] Malignant hyperthermia.
Denborough M.
Lancet 1998; 352: 1131-6.


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