Skeletal Muscle Metabolic Dysfunction in Patients With Malignant Hyperthermia Susceptibility

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BACKGROUND:Malignant hyperthermia (MH), a pharmacogenetic disorder of skeletal muscle, presents with a potentially lethal hypermetabolic reaction to certain anesthetics. However, some MH-susceptible patients experience muscle weakness, fatigue, and exercise intolerance in the absence of anesthetic triggers. The objective of this exploratory study was to elucidate the pathophysiology of exercise intolerance in patients tested positive for MH with the caffeine-halothane contracture test. To this end, we used phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy, blood oxygen level–dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and traditional exercise testing to compare skeletal muscle metabolism in MH-positive patients and healthy controls.METHODS:Skeletal muscle metabolism was assessed using phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy and blood oxygen level–dependent functional MRI in 29 MH-positive patients and 20 healthy controls. Traditional measures of physical capacity were employed to measure aerobic capacity, anaerobic capacity, and muscle strength.RESULTS:During 30- and 60-second exercise, MH-positive patients had significantly lower ATP production via the oxidative pathway compared to healthy controls. MH-positive patients also had a longer recovery time with blood oxygen level–dependent functional MRI compared to healthy controls. Exercise testing revealed lower aerobic and anaerobic capacity in MH-positive patients compared to healthy controls.CONCLUSIONS:Results of this exploratory study suggest that MH-positive patients have impaired aerobic metabolism compared to healthy individuals. This could explain the exercise intolerance exhibited in MH-susceptible patient population.

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