What We Do

What is MHIU?

The Malignant Hyperthermia Investigation Unit (MHIU), at Toronto General Hospital, Toronto, Canada is one of the first centers in the world that has worked on providing care and diagnostic testing to Malignant Hyperthermia patients.

Our mission is:

  • To advise and provide resources to increase knowledge of MH among Canadian health practitioners and patients,
  • Act as a referral center to assess "at risk individuals" and provide them with genetic counseling, genetic testing, and CHCT testing,
  • To create and maintain an MH registry of the Canadian MH population,
  • And to perform scientific research on MH.

MHIU History

Dr. Beverley A. Britt, an anesthesiologist from Toronto, was devoted to unraveling the biochemical and genetic bases for MH and to the development of preoperative diagnosis of MHS. She started her research in malignant hyperthermia in 1966 with Dr. Werner Kalow, often described as the "father of pharmacogenetics". They were the first to take advantage of the knowledge that caffeine might be a useful tool in MH research, and noted that tension developed in MHS fibers compared to normal fibers at lower caffeine concentrations. Their research was the basis for the North American caffeine-halothane contracture test (CHCT) and the European in vitro contracture test (IVCT).

Dr. Britt established a unit for further research on malignant hyperthermia and became its director. Over the years, she tested the muscles of numerous survivors and their relatives with caffeine and halothane. This unit is now known as the Malignant Hyperthermia Investigation Unit (MHIU) at Toronto General Hospital. Subsequent to Dr. Britt, Dr. Jane Heggie, and Dr. Julian Loke were directors of this unit.

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