Non-triggering general anaesthesia with intravenous anaesthesia agents is safe. Nitrous oxide gas is safe. Local anaesthetics are safe. Spinal, epidural and other regional (numbing) anaesthetics are safe.
The only drugs necessary to avoid are volatile anaesthetics and a muscle relaxing drug called suxamethonium (succinylcholine).
Apart from when I have surgery, what effect will MH have on my lifestyle?
You can still lead an active life with no restrictions on normal activity including sports, such as rugby, netball and running marathons.
Can I choose not to be tested?
Yes, absolutely. The decision to have a muscle biopsy is up to you. You will be provided with as much information as you need to help you reach your decision. If you decide not to be tested, then you would have to be assumed to be at risk of MH should you require an anaesthetic. The anaesthetist needs to know your MH status for safety, and this may lead to postponement of non-life saving surgery or increased risk of complications during emergency surgery.
Also, if you choose not to be tested, your children (and possibly other relatives), will be assumed to be at risk of MH and would need to undergo testing which could be unnecessary if you had a test and were shown to not be at risk.
Should I be worried about further anaesthetics if I am at risk of MH?
No. It is important to realise that operations can be performed safely and effectively for patients at risk of MH. All anaesthetists in Australia and New Zealand and most developed countries are aware of this condition. However, in order to anaesthetise you safely, anaesthetic equipment needs to be specially prepared and a more experienced anaesthetist will often be called as some anaesthetists are less familiar with the alternative anaesthetics.
Although the condition will be documented in your notes, and an alert placed on the national patient database system (if you are in New Zealand), it is important for you to inform the anaesthetist of your MH status before any operation. We advise that you keep an MH warning card in your wallet or purse. We also advise that you wear a medical alert bracelet or similar in case you are brought into hospital unconscious after an accident or illness.