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Malignant Hyperthermia

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Malignant Hyperthermia
J. Schulte am Esch, J. Scholz, F. Wappier (Eds.)


This book gives the reader an update on current topics and concepts in malignant hyperthermia. It comprises all the important, contemporary aspects of this syndrome embracing considerable facets.

Articles on fatal heat strokes that occurred during surgical procedures have first been published by several physicians around the turn of the past century. Amongst other causes it was suspected that anesthetics have provoked these incidents. Nevertheless, it took another sixty years before the pedigree and family history of a young patient revealed that this disease runs in families; hence, a genetic predisposition was established. A malady of its own was so discovered and was named 'Malignant Hyperthermia'.

The description of this disease initiated research on its pathophysiology, diagnosis and therapy all over the world. The break-through in the therapy was achieved with the introduction of dantrolene in 1979.

The inauguration of numerous MH laboratories specialized in examining MH-susceptible patients and the increasing number of international publications, conferences, and symposia suggest an increasing interest in this syndrome and that MH continues to challenge clinicians and researchers. This condition attracts not only anesthesiologists but also other specialists, such as pediatricians, neurologists, pathologists, and geneticists.

This book looks back on approximately 40 years of intense and successful research on MH, and covers all the main aspects of MH including pathophysiology, pharmacology, epidemiology, genetics, clinics, and therapy. The authors who contributed to this book are very skilled experts in different fields related to MH.

The editors have the merit not only of having written interesting chapters but also of having given an harmonious order to the whole subject.



Malignant Hyperthermia
J. Schulte am Esch, J. Scholz, F. Wappier (Eds.)

I was very pleased to be asked to review this multiauthor book on the subject of Malignant Hyperthermia. It really represents an integration of current research and general knowledge of this subject. The book was compiled by three German editors for the 2000 Annual Meeting of the European Malignant Hyperthermia Group, so the information is both current and informative. The chapter authors are based mainly in Europe and North America, most of whom are well published in this field and would be considered as experts in their particular area of interest.

The 425 page book consists of 45 chapters arranged in 13 themes. These include history, epidemiology, presentation, treatment, pathophysiology, pharmacology, genetics, testing, related diseases and Malignant Hyperthermia organizations. Most of the chapters follow a common format in that each is relatively short at three to four pages of succinct text which concludes with key sentences highlighting the important material. Each chapter also has an extensive reference list, which is an essential resource for those interested in pursuing greater detail or researching original articles.

I particularly liked the section concerning the pathophysiology of the skeletal muscles and their receptors. This information is weIl written and illustrated and brings together an expansive and difficult subject that you would otherwise need to access multiple texts to gain similar knowledge. The only minor criticism I could make is the occasional spelling error and use of European grammar, however this does not in any way diminish the quality of the information presented.

All in all, this is an excellent book that summarizes the present knowledge on this subject very well. The information is well balanced with a good mix of history, basic science and current research. At 30 EURO it can only be described as a bargain for those with an interest in malignant hyperthermia. Highly recommended.


N. STREET The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Sydney, New South Wales

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