Approximately one in 10,000 persons have a susceptibility to MH; most will not know this unless they receive general anesthesia. Currently, the only test for MH susceptibility requires a muscle biopsy done at a few specialized diagnostic centers. However, a newly offered genetic test requires only a blood sample from a patient suspected to be at risk for MH.

The test detects 25 to 50 percent of the mutations known to make one susceptible to the condition. If physicians know that a patient has this genetic susceptibility, they can substitute other anaesthesia drugs when surgery is required.

Ronald S. Litman, D.O., a paediatric anaesthesiologist at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, is the lead author of a review article on MH in the June 15 Journal of the American Medical Association. That article summarizes current knowledge of MH and describes the new genetic test, which is expected to increase in accuracy over time.

MEDICA.de; Source: Children's Hospital of Philadelphia