At the recent American Society of Anesthesiologists conference in San Francisco, CA, the following outstanding contributors were recognized by the Malignant Hyperthermia Association of the United States:
James Chapin, MD, of the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, NE, and Dorming Wong, MD, of the California Anesthesia Associates Medical Group in Newport Beach, CA, were the recipients of the 2007 MH Hotline Partnership Awards. This award recognizes special cases in which the 24/7 MH Hotline was used to solve MH cases in real time via telephone or internet.
Dr. Wong called the hotline because he was dealing with signs of MH during a surgical procedure in a 72-year-old woman undergoing off-pump cardiac surgery. After much discussion, it was eventually concluded that the case was probably MH and the patient was recommended for a muscle biopsy at UCLA.
Dr. Chapin has volunteered his time as a hotline consultant for over 20 years.
Harvey K. Rosenbaum, MD, clinical professor of Anesthesiology at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA received a Special Recognition for Outstanding Dedication to MH Award for his leadership and vision in promoting the development of the MH Case of the Month on the Malignant Hyperthermia website (www.mhaus.org). Henry Rosenberg, MD, president of the Malignant Hyperthermia Association of the US stated that Dr. Rosenbaum, who has been a codirector of the MH biopsy center at UCLA, took the case of the month idea and developed the presentation and structure of the challenge. He personally wrote the first 14 cases.
Paul Allen, MD, PhD, of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, MA, received the Special Recognition Award in recognition of his outstanding work in understanding the pathophysiology of MH and the development of a new animal model for MH.
Susan Hamilton, PhD, of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX, received the Special Recognition Award for her outstanding work in understanding the structure and function of the ryanodine receptors and the development of a new animal model for MH.
Dr. Rosenberg said that Drs. Hamilton and Allen have been investigating the special characteristics of cellular structure and function in MH susceptibles. They worked through the details of developing an animal model that expresses the mutations that are responsible for rendering an individual animal MH susceptible. The animal model has already suggested that environmental temperature can modulate the development of an MH episode. The animal model will serve to provide greater information concerning the relation of DNA changes to the expression of MH.
Laura Schleelein, MD, of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia received the Special Mention Manuscript for her manuscript "Hyperthermia in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit—Is it Malignant Hyperthermia?" Dr. Schleelein and coworkers used MH hotline data to explore how often MH is expressed in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. An abstract of her work may be found in the compilation of annual meeting abstracts posted on the website of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (www.asaabstracts.com).
This year's MHAUS Media Award recognized Robert C. Morell, MD, editor of the APSF Newsletter for his support of the educational mission of the Malignant Hyperthermia Association by encouraging the publication of information that relates to the clinical findings in MH.
The Daniel Massik MHAUS Anesthesiology Resident Award was established through the generosity of an MHAUS founder, George Massik, in memory of his son Daniel. First place went to Frank Schuster, MD, of the University of Wurzburg, Department of Anesthesiology in Wurzburg, Germany, for his manuscript entitled "A Minimally-Invasive Metabolic test Detects Probands at Risk for Malignant Hyperthermia."
Dr. Rosenberg said the work of Dr. Schuster and his colleagues has creatively applied physiologic information about MH to developing a minimally invasive diagnostic test for MH that might reduce the use of the standard open muscle biopsy.
Malignant Hyperthermia is an uncommon, inherited disorder, whereby patients who are at risk may develop life-threatening temperature elevation, muscle breakdown, and changes in body chemistry usually upon exposure to certain anesthetic gases. With rapid recognition of the changes accompanying the syndrome and administration of dantrolene sodium, mortality is averted.
MHAUS (www.mhaus.org) is a not-for-profit patient advocacy organization that is dedicated to reducing morbidity and mortality from MH and related syndromes by 1) improving medical care related to MH, 2) providing support information for patients, and 3) improving the scientific understanding and research related to MH and other kinds of heat-related syndromes. In its first 25 years of existence, MHAUS has contributed to the reduction of the MH-related death rate from 80% to less than 5%.