Is There a Link between Exertional Heat Stroke and Susceptibility to Malignant Hyperthermia?


  • Sagui Emmanuel
  • Montigon Coline
  • Abriat Amandine
  • Jouvion Arnaud
  • Duron-Martinaud Sandrine
  • Canini Frédéric
  • Zagnoli Fabien
  • Bendahan David
  • Figarella-Branger Dominique
  • Brégigeon Michel
  • Brosset Christian



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Objective:The identification of a predisposition toward malignant hyperthermia (MH) as a risk factor for exertional heat stroke (EHS) remains a matter of debate. Such a predisposition indicates a causal role for MH susceptibility (MHS) after EHS in certain national recommendations and has led to the use of an in vitro contracture test (IVCT) to identify the MHS trait in selected or unselected EHS patients. The aim of this study was to determine whether the MHS trait is associated with EHS. Methods :EHS subjects in the French Armed Forces were routinely examined for MHS after experiencing an EHS episode. This retrospective study compared the features of IVCT-diagnosed MHS (iMHS) EHS subjects with those of MH-normal EHS patients and MH patients during the 2004-2010 period. MHS status was assessed using the European protocol. Results: During the study period, 466 subjects (median age 25 years; 31 women) underwent MHS status investigation following an EHS episode. None of the subjects reported previous MH events. An IVCT was performed in 454 cases and was diagnostic of MHS in 45.6% of the study population, of MH susceptibility to halothane in 18.5%, of MH susceptibility to caffeine in 9.9%, and of MH susceptibility to halothane and caffeine in 17.2%. There were no differences in the clinical features, biological features or outcomes of iMHS EHS subjects compared with those of MH-normal or caffeine or halothane MHS subjects without known prior EHS episode. The recurrence rate was 12.7% and was not associated with MH status or any clinical or biological features. iMHS EHS patients exhibited a significantly less informative IVCT response than MH patients. Conclusions :The unexpected high prevalence of the MHS trait after EHS suggested a latent disturbance of calcium homeostasis that accounted for the positive IVCT results. This study did not determine whether EHS patients have an increased risk of MH, and it could not determine whether MH susceptibility is a risk factor for EHS.

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