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February 8, 1980

Malignant Hyperthermia— A Misnomer

JAMA. 1980;243(6):513. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03300320011002

To the Editor.—  During the past 15 years, I have been involved in the screening of relatives of patients with malignant hyperthermia, and, therefore, I became increasingly aware of the inappropriateness of the term "malignant hyperthermia." Hence, I proposed a new, more descriptive term that, rather, is based on the pathological findings: acute familial peranesthetic rhabdomyolysis. This classification conveys the pathoetiologic signs and the treatment aspects to all physicians at once.Further arguments in favor of this term are as follows: (1) The word "malignant" is often misconstrued by the patients and affected relatives as meaning a carcinomatous tumor. As a result, many potential carriers of this anomaly declined evaluation of their genetic defect. Furthermore, insurance policies were turned down as a result. (2) Before the occurrence of this name for the syndrome, the mortality was indeed high, justifying the term "malignant." But now the survival rate has been greatly