Inadvertent hyperthermia during anaesthesia is a rare but life-threatening complication. We have encountered several cases of severe hyperthermia in paediatric patients undergoing anaesthesia for cochlear implantation.
This study aimed to describe the clinical characteristics of children who developed hyperthermia while undergoing cochlear implantation, and to explore possible mechanisms and predisposing factors. The anaesthetic charts of all patients aged under 18 years who underwent cochlear implantation, or mastoid or ophthalmic surgery, between 1 January 2006 and 31 December 2009, at Soroka Medical Center in Beer Sheva, Israel, were reviewed. Patients undergoing mastoid and ophthalmic surgical procedures were used as controls.
A larger percentage of patients who underwent cochlear implant surgery (10 per cent) developed hyperthermia compared to controls (0.7 per cent, p < 0.05). In five of the seven cases, hyperthermia appeared in combination with tachycardia and hypercapnia, adhering to the clinical triad of malignant hyperthermia.
Patients undergoing cochlear implantation are susceptible to developing intra-operative hyperthermia. This article describes the hyperthermic events that occur during paediatric cochlear implantation, and attempts to identify potential triggers of hyperthermia.