Archive April 2017 XVIII, No. 4

Ideas That Work: Monitor Core Temps to Detect the Onset of MH

probes for the tympanic membrane or esophagus ON THE RISE Probes for the tympanic membrane or esophagus (shown) can detect a malignant hyperthermia-related rise in the patient's core temperature.

Monitor Core Temps to Detect the Onset of MH

Temperature rise is one of the early signs of malignant hyperthermia. In outpatient settings, there's a tendency to think you can monitor the patient's temperature once in a while and be fine, but we know from past MH cases that temperatures can rise very quickly within 30 minutes of induction. The temperature rise that signals MH can happen at any time during a case — even in the PACU.

Continuous electronic core temperature monitoring is essential to detect MH. You might use stick-on thermometers, but the overhead fluorescent lights in the OR can make for inaccurate readings. I recommend using temperature probes for the tympanic membrane or esophagus — probes for bladder and rectal temps are effective, too — for any procedures that use general anesthetics and last longer than 30 minutes.

Charles B. Watson, MD, FCCM
Bridgeport (Conn.) Hospital

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