Suxamethonium chloride (suxamethonium, succinylcholine or sux) is a depolarising muscle relaxant that produces rapid-onset, short-duration, deep muscle relaxation. First identified in 1906 and used medically in 1951, it is one of the oldest anaesthesia drugs still widely used. Due to its unique properties and low cost, it remains on the World Health Organisation's List of Essential Medicines
- pH 3.5
- Shelf life 3 years at 4°C, though only 'months' at 20°C.
- Dose - ED95 0.5 mg/kg, IV 1.5 mg/kg, IM 2.5-4 mg/kg.
- Absorption - IM, IV.
- Distribution - >0.2 L/kg; crosses placenta slightly but little effect on foetus.
- Protein binding ?
- Onset 30s IV, 2-3 min IM; Offset 3-5 min.
- Metabolism - PChE to succinylmonocholine (5% activity) & choline -> succinic acid & choline.
- tß½ 5 minutes
- Mechanism - binds to alpha subunit of nicotinic ACh receptor, producing persistent depolarisation (phase 1 & phase 2 blocks).
- CNS - ⇡ intra-ocular pressure (4-8 mmHg rise), ⇡ intra-celebral pressure (to 30 mmHg at 2-4 min).
- CVS - arrhythmias (both bradycardia & tachycardia possible), ⇡ systolic blood pressure, (both negative inotropic and chronotropic effects).
- Resp - 'sux apnoea' pharmacogenetic diversity (94% normal, 3.8% heterozyg (10 min duration of effect), <1% homozog (1-2h duration))
- Renal - hyperkalaemia due to K+ release from muscle; beware in neuromuscular conditions, denervation, and extensive burns.
- GIT - ⇡ intragastric pressure, ⇡ secretions, salivation.
- SEs - anaphylaxis, malignant hyperthermia, sux apnoea, muscle pains, masseter spasm.
The World Health Organisation's Surgical Safety Checklist has been adopted and implemented by many hospitals throughout the world: from large tertiary teaching hospitals in wealthy countries, to small hospitals in low-resource settings.
The benefits to each hospital however are likely not the same. Does the WHO SSC implemented in a hospital that already has a 'Time Out' process bring the same benefit, if any, as to a hospital for which the checklist was completely new? Possibly not.
Several studies across a wide range of health systems have shown conflicting results in terms of reducing morbidity, mortality and length of stay.summary
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