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McArdle's disease and anaesthesia: Case reports. Review of potential problems and association with malignant hyperthermia

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McArdle's disease of isolated deficiency in glycogen degradation in skeletal muscles has the potential of creating perioperative anaesthesiological problems; such as hypoglycaemia, rhabdomyolysis, myoglobinuria, acute renal failure and possibly malignant hyperthermia. Methods: 

Eight patients with McArdle's disease were asked about previous surgery, anaesthesia and perioperative problems, and available hospital records were reviewed. Existing literature was reviewed for reports on McArdle's disease and anaesthesia. Results: 

The eight patients had 35 anaesthesias (23 general anaesthesias, three regional anaesthesias and nine local anaesthesias). Perioperative problems of a non-specific nature were mentioned in three cases of general anaesthesia: two with postoperative nausea/vomiting, and one with an episode of tachycardia and low blood pressure. Three patients were tested for malignant hyperthermia (MH) using the in vitro contracture test (IVCT); two of them with a positive result. The literature search revealed seven case reports of McArdle's disease and anaesthesia. Apart from one report of hyperthermia, pulmonary oedema and rhabdomyolysis; probably not associated with MH, no problems were encountered from the literature search. Conclusion: 

McArdle's disease does not seem to cause severe perioperative problems in routine anaesthetic care. However, measures for preventing muscle ischaemia and rhabdomyolysis should be kept in mind, as well as the potential for these patients to develop postoperative fatigue, myoglobinuria and renal failure. Although no clinical association with malignant hyperthermia has been established, many of these patients can have a positive in vitro contracture test, and simple prophylactic measures, as with malignant hyperthermia, may be recommended if otherwise not contraindicated.
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Keywords: Anaesthesia; McArdle's disease; complications; glycogen storage disease type V; halothane; malignant hyperthermia; succinylcholine

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Anaesthesiology, Ullevål University Hospital, Oslo, and

Publication date: 2005-09-01

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