Delayed onset of malignant hyperthermia induced by isoflurane and desflurane compared with halothane in susceptible swine

D. J. Wedel, S. A. Gammel, J. H. Milde, P. A. Iaizzo

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73 Scopus citations


Background: Desflurane (difluoromethyl 1-fluoro 2,2,2-trifluoroethyl ether) is a new inhalational anesthetic currently under investigation for use in humans. Recently, the authors showed that desflurane is a trigger of malignant hyperthermia (MH) in susceptible swine. To date, there has been no in vivo comparison of the relative ability of inhalational anesthetics to trigger MH. The effects of desflurane, isoflurane, and halothane on six MH- susceptible purebred and six MH-susceptible mixed-bred Pletrain swine were examined. Methods: The animals were exposed to 1 MAC and 2 MAC (if MH was not triggered after 1 MAC hour) doses of each of the three volatile anesthetics in random sequence at 7-10-day intervals and changes in end-tidal CO2, arterial blood gases, serum lactate, core and muscle temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate were measured. Results: There was a statistical difference between anesthetics in the time required to trigger MH; halothane exposure resulted in the fastest onset of an MH episode (20 ± 5 min), compared with isoflurane (48 ± 24 min) and desflurane (65 ± 28 min), both of which required significantly longer exposures. There was no statistical difference between the MH purebred and mixed-bred swine in the time required to trigger MH (defined as a Pa(CO2) of 70 mmHg) with a given agent, and time to triggering was also independent of the order of exposure to the three anesthetics. Malignant hyperthermia susceptibility was confirmed in ten surviving animals, by both in vivo succinylcholine challenge and in vitro contracture testing. Conclusions: Although all three volatile anesthetics triggered MH, exposure to halothane resulted in significantly shorter times to MH triggering when compared with desflurane and isoflurane.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1138-1144
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1993


  • Anesthetics, volatile: desflurane; halothane; isoflurane
  • Animal: swine, Pietrain
  • Malignant hyperthermia
  • Neuromuscular relaxants: succinylcholine

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