Indexed on: 01 Sep '75Published on: 01 Sep '75Published in: Virchows Archiv
Malignant hyperthermia is a rare but severe complication of modern anesthesia, induced by halothane and succinylcholine. The syndrome is characterized by a rapid sustained and extreme rise in body temperature associated with muscular rigidity, tachycardia, tachypnoea and cyanosis. The lethality is about 60%. The present paper describes the histological, histochemical and electron microscopical findings performed on muscle biopsies of 3 patients with malignant hyperthermia (1 patient died) and a so called risk patient.In all patients morphological findings consistent with a pre-existent myopathy were found. Histologioally there were acute necrotic muscular fibers as well as in types I and II, variations in the fiber diameter and centralization of the nuclei. In two cases even fibers that had a normal aspect in HE slides, showed a pathologic pattern after phosphorylase reaction. In addition to acute rhabdomyolysis, electron-microscopic investigations revealed cystic expansion of the cisterns of the sarcoplasmic reticulum with a peculiar proliferation of the sarcolemma. In a degenerating mitochondrium, a crystalline inclusion was identified.These findings support the pathogenetic concept of Britt and coworkers of a functional defect in the calcium release or binding mechanism of sareoplasmic reticulum.Since it is known that malignant hyperthermia has a familial predilection, it seems very important that clinical, biochemical, and morphological investigations be performed such as CPK estimations and muscular biopsies not only of the patients but also of the relatives in order to rule out this type of latent myopathy.