Brazilian Journal of Anesthesiology
Brazilian Journal of Anesthesiology
Original Investigation

Predictive factors of the contracture test for diagnosing malignant hyperthermia in a Brazilian population sample: a retrospective observational study

Jean Marcel de Mello, Pamela Vieira Andrade, Joilson Moura Santos, Acary Souza Bulle Oliveira, Mariz Vainzof, José Luiz Gomes do Amaral, Helga Cristina Almeida da Silva

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Malignant Hyperthermia (MH) is a pharmacogenetic, hereditary and autosomal dominant syndrome triggered by halogenates/succinylcholine. The In Vitro Contracture Test (IVCT) is the gold standard diagnostic test for MH, and it evaluates abnormal skeletal muscle reactions of susceptible individuals (earlier/greater contracture) when exposed to caffeine/halothane. MH susceptibility episodes and IVCT seem to be related to individual features.

To assess variables that correlate with IVCT in Brazilian patients referred for MH investigation due to a history of personal/family MH.

We examined IVCTs of 80 patients investigated for MH between 2004‒2019. We recorded clinical data (age, sex, presence of muscle weakness or myopathy with muscle biopsy showing cores, genetic evaluation, IVCT result) and IVCT features (initial and final maximum contraction, caffeine/halothane concentration triggering contracture of 0.2g, contracture at caffeine concentration of 2 and 32 mmoL and at 2% halothane, and contraction after 100 Hz stimulation).

Mean age of the sample was 35±13.3 years, and most of the subjects were female (n=43 or 54%) and MH susceptible (60%). Of the 20 subjects undergoing genetic investigation, 65% showed variants in RYR1/CACNA1S genes. We found no difference between the positive and negative IVCT groups regarding age, sex, number of probands, presence of muscle weakness or myopathy with muscle biopsy showing cores. Regression analysis revealed that the best predictors of positive IVCT were male sex (+12%), absence of muscle weakness (+20%), and personal MH background (+17%).

Positive IVCT results have been correlated to male probands, in accordance with early publications. Furthermore, normal muscle strength has been confirmed as a significant predictor of positive IVCT while investigating suspected MH cases.


Anesthesia;  Caffeine;  Halothane;  Malignant hyperthermia;  Skeletal muscle


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