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Masseter spasm induced by succinylcholine in children: Contracture testing for malignant hyperthermia: Report of six cases


We evaluated six boys who had developed isolated masseter muscle spasm following intravenous succinylcholine. All were receiving halothane by inhalation.In vitro muscle contracture tests utilizing halothane and caffeine were performed. Four of the six boys had contracture responses similar to those of malignant hyperthermia susceptible patients. Rigidity following succinylcholine should prompt the clinician to consider malignant hyperthermia but has been associated with other myopathic conditions as discussed.


Six jeunes garçons qui avaient présenté un spasme n’impliquant que le masséter à la suite d’une injection de succinylcholine par la voie veineuse ont été étudiés. Tous ces malades recevaient de l’halothane. Des tests de contracture à l’halothane et à la caféine in vitro ont été effectués et ont démontré dans quatre cas sur six des contractures identiques à celles qu’on rencontre chez le sujet susceptible à l’hyperthermie maligne. La rigidité qui suit l’injection de succinylcholine devrait toujours faire suspecter l’hyperthermie maligne mais ne peut éliminer d’emblée d’autres myopathies.


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Author information

Correspondence to Eugene H. Flewellen or Thomas E. Nelson.

Additional information

Supported in part by NIH Grant DHEW 5R01 GM 23875(4) and by a Grant (RR-73) from the General Clinical Research Centers Program of the Division of Research Resources, National Institutes of Health.

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Flewellen, E.H., Nelson, T.E. Masseter spasm induced by succinylcholine in children: Contracture testing for malignant hyperthermia: Report of six cases. Canad. Anaesth. Soc. J. 29, 42–49 (1982).

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Key Words

  • Malignant hyperthermia
  • Succinylcholine
  • Masseter spasm