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June 6, 1980


Author Affiliations

From the Department of Anesthesiology, Mercy Hospital, Pittsburgh.

JAMA. 1980;243(21):2179-2180. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03300470039021

Progress in anesthesiology, as in any medical discipline, is better measured by events than by time. While the end of a decade is an attractive time to cite the accomplishments of the previous ten years, progress is a continuum, and great events are almost always the product of earlier, usually prodigious, work. From the accomplishments in anesthesiology over the past decade I have selected four areas for comment, three of which are closely related.

Malignant Hyperpyrexia  The recognition of a syndrome, explanation of the mechanisms involved, and the development of its cure in the course of a single generation encompass a rare event in medicine. An example of one such entity in another specialty is erythroblastosis fetalis. In anesthesiology, malignant hyperpyrexia was not recognized as a syndrome until the early 1960s. This life-threatening complication, triggered by both potent inhalational anesthetic agents and muscle relaxants or their combination was further defined