Prevalence of Malignant Hyperthermia Diagnosis in Obstetric Patients in the United States, 2003 to 2014

Jean Guglielminotti; Henry Rosenberg; Guohua Li


BMC Anesthesiol. 2020;20(19) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background: The cost-benefit of stocking dantrolene in maternity units for treating malignant hyperthermia (MH) has been recently questioned because of the low incidence of MH crisis in the general population and the low utilization of general anesthesia in obstetrics. However, no study has examined the prevalence of MH susceptibility in obstetrics. This study aimed to assess the prevalence of MH diagnosis and associated factors in obstetric patients.

Methods: Data for this study came from the National Inpatient Sample from 2003 to 2014, a 20% nationally representative sample of discharge records from community hospitals. A diagnosis of MH due to anesthesia was identified using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification code 995.86. MH prevalence was estimated according to the delivery mode and patient and hospital characteristics.

Results: During the 12-year study period, 47,178,322 delivery-related discharges [including 15,175,127 (32.2%) cesarean deliveries] were identified. Of them, 215 recorded a diagnosis of MH, yielding a prevalence of 0.46 per 100,000 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.40 to 0.52]. The prevalence of MH diagnosis in cesarean deliveries was 0.81 per 100,000 (95% CI, 0.67 to 0.97), compared with 0.29 per 100,000 (95% CI, 0.23 to 0.35) in vaginal deliveries (P < 0.001). Multivariable logistic regression revealed that cesarean delivery was associated with a significantly increased risk of MH diagnosis [adjusted rate ratio (aOR) 2.88; 95% CI, 2.19 to 3.80]. Prevalence of MH diagnosis was lower in Hispanics than in non-Hispanic whites (aOR 0.47; 95% CI, 0.29 to 0.76) and higher in the South than in the Northeast census regions (aOR 2.44; 95% CI, 1.50 to 3.96).

Conclusion: The prevalence of MH-susceptibility is about 1 in 125,000 in cesarean deliveries, similar to the prevalence reported in non-obstetrical surgery inpatients. The findings of this study suggest that stocking dantrolene in maternity units is justified.