Sources of variability in halothane and caffeine contracture tests for susceptibility to malignant hyperthermia.Eur J Anaesthesiol. 1992 Sep; 9(5):367-76.EJ
In vitro contracture tests for susceptibility to malignant hyperthermia (MH) were performed in 96 patients according to the protocol of the European MH Group. In addition, tests were performed with halothane 0.44 mmol l-1 and 0.66 mmol l-1, and caffeine 2 mmol l-1, each added as a single bolus dose to fresh specimens. For all tests the size of contractures were recorded, and for the diagnostic tests the halothane and caffeine threshold concentrations were determined (i.e. the minimal concentrations eliciting a contracture of 0.2 g). The caffeine specific concentration (CSC, i.e. the concentration increasing force 1.0 g) and the % increase with caffeine 2 mmol l-1 were calculated from the dose response curves. Various diagnostic criteria in use by the North American MH Group were applied, and diagnostic outcome compared with the result obtained by the protocol of the European MH Group. Thirty-five patients were susceptible to MH (MHS), 33 were non-susceptible (MHN), and 28 had equivocal results of the tests (MHE). Additional tests were made in 34 MHS, 32 MHN, and 26 MHE patients. Contractures elicited by bolus addition of halothane or caffeine were significantly larger than those observed following the same dose of drug added cumulatively (P less than 0.05). Contractures greater than or equal to 0.7 g following halothane 3% (bolus dose) were seen in 78% of MHS patients and 18% of MHN patients, A CSC less than 4 mmol l-1 was elicited in 86% of MHS and 30% of MHN patients, whereas an increase in force greater than or equal to 4% or greater than or equal to 7% was seen in 71% and 34% of MHS patients, respectively, and in none of the MHN patients. Using the criterion of greater than or equal to 0.7 g in the halothane test and greater than or equal to 4% increase in the caffeine test gave the best agreement between diagnostic outcome with the European and North American protocols: All 34 MHS patients (100%) were positive to one or more tests, but so were eight of 32 MHN patients (25%), giving an overall diagnostic agreement of 88%. We conclude that, in our laboratory, the results obtained with the two major protocols for investigation of MH susceptibility are not identical. Patients surviving fulminant MH, however, react abnormally to nearly all the tests. For validation and possibly further standardization of the tests each laboratory must investigate a large number of normal controls and as many patients surviving fulminant MH as possible.