Experts from the Malignant Hyperthermia Association of the United States (MHAUS) are encouraging anesthesia practices to store dantrolene, a muscle relaxant used to treat malignant hyperthermia, a rare disorder most commonly caused by anesthesia. Researchers used a decision tree model to assess the effectiveness of storing dantrolene, while weighing variables such as the cost of storing the drug, the probability of a patient contracting malignant hyperthermia and case fatality when using dantrolene to treat malignant hyperthermia. They then performed sensitivity analyses to estimate dantrolene’s cost-effectiveness. They found that if every ambulatory surgical care center in the United States stored dantrolene, an additional 33 lives per year could be saved.
These 33 lives would come at a cost-effectiveness ratio of nearly $200,000 per life saved. Storing dantrolene costs only about $1,000 per year, according to MHAUS’s website. In other words, storing dantrolene (MHAUS recommends that each center stocks 36 vials at all times, since some cases may need multiple vials) is an extremely cost-effective practice that should be carried out by all ambulatory surgical centers.
One of the researchers, Dr. Guohau Li, Finster Professor of Epidemiology and Anesthesiology and Founding Director of the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention at Columbia University, says that “anesthesia safety in ambulatory surgery centers is understudied and remains a serious concern” and that storing dantrolene “will save lives and money.” There it is: store dantrolene and not only become a safer practice, but also a more cost-effective one.
At Somnia, we believe in helping our facilities reap benefits similar to what dantrolene provides: improved safety and decreased costs. We have recently published a paper, “Ambulatory Anesthesia: Performance that Stands Out,” that discusses the eight key performance areas for ambulatory anesthesia quality and how to improve each on them. The paper is exclusively accessible on our website, so download your copy today!