Author(s): Littleford JA, Patel LR, Bose D, Cameron CB, McKillop C
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Abstract This retrospective study was undertaken to examine the management and outcome of children who developed isolated masseter muscle spasm (MMS) after the administration of intravenous succinylcholine during anesthetic induction. The inhalation anesthetics used for induction were continued in all of these cases. The medical records of 68 patients (male/female ratio, 1.7:1), identified from approximately 42,000 anesthetics given during the period 1980-1989, were reviewed. Fifty-seven children (2.3-12 yr old) were diagnosed as having isolated MMS, i.e., MMS without spasm of other muscles; 11 experienced generalized rigidity in combination with MMS. Anesthetic and postoperative management of these two groups differed. The overall incidence of MMS was 0.3\% of inhalation anesthetics during which succinylcholine was given. Intraoperative arrhythmias occurred in 33\% of the patients who developed isolated MMS and more frequently in older children. Most children experienced some degree of hypercarbia and/or metabolic acidosis, but the significance of these abnormalities in the spontaneously ventilating, fasting child is unknown. Serum creatine kinase levels when measured 18-24 h postoperatively were elevated in all but one child (n = 45). There was no long-term morbidity and no mortality. We conclude that failure of the masseter muscles to relax after succinylcholine is not uncommon in children. Based on our experience, and accepting that MMS may be part of the clinical spectrum of malignant hyperthermia, we believe that anesthesia can be continued safely in cases of isolated MMS when careful monitoring accompanies diagnostic evaluation. This differs from the current practice of discontinuing the anesthetic or switching to a nontriggering anesthetic technique.
This article was published in Anesth Analg
and referenced in Emergency Medicine: Open Access