The member’s assembly took place on September 9th 2017 at the Restaurant Dieci at the Zurich zoo.
After being a member of the committee during 12 years, Dr. Mathias Rubeli is stepping back. Prof. Dr. Albert Urwyler was elected as new president of the SMHA. As specialist and professor of anaesthesia and former head of the MH diagnostic centre in Basel, Prof. Dr. Urwyler is a perfect choice and well connected to lead the SMHA. The open position of vice-president was filled by Annakäthi Landa. Both new members of the committee were elected for a 3 year period.
The contact and communication of the MH laboratory with the SMHA has been insufficient recently. There have not been any new members joining the association although many people were tested positive. It is possible that the difficult financial situation leads to uncertainty. The committee will follow up on a possibility to support the laboratory financially.
Due to financial cutbacks in the medical fields, treatment of rare diseases is more and more affected. The committee decided to join ProRaris – alliance of rare diseases Switzerland. It is an umbrella association founded in 2010 to represent the interests of people with rare diseases and corresponding organisations. This association could help debating financial cutbacks in the future.
Prof. Dr. Urwyler reported on several conventions of the European Malignant Hyperthermia Group (EMHG) and the European Society of Anaesthesiology (ESA) he visited in summer. He explained that there were no recent breakthroughs in MH research. There is still the blood test (genetic testing) and the muscle test (in vitro contraction test) for diagnosing MH. The blood test is possible if a known mutation is suspected. To this day 38 mutations are known. For all other cases a contraction test needs to be performed. Roughly 1/3 of all cases MH can be identified by the blood test. At the MH laboratory in Basel, 40-50 consultations regarding MH diagnostics take place. Due to the increase in genetic diagnostics, 5-10 muscle biopsies are performed per year and 30-40 genetic analyses. The blood test is performed by Vioglier.
Although the second anaesthesia professorship was cut back, the existance of the MH diagnostic centre is ensured.