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Cholinesterase phenotyping

Category Biochemistry
Test background

Acetyl choline is released at the nerve endings to mediate transmission of impulses across neuronal synapses and its prompt removal by acetyl cholinesterase (SChE) is necessary to ensure cellular depolarisation in anticipation of further neural stimulation. Succinyldicholine (suxamethonium) and mivacurium (surgical muscle relaxants) are eliminated as a function of SChE activity, which is determined by the genotype of the SChE gene. In patients with diminished SchE activity, the prolonged drug elimination may cause apnoea, necessitating mechanical ventilation.

Clinicial Indications

Prolonged apnoea during surgical procedure
Family history of suxamethonium sensitivity

Reference range

See report

Sample & container required SST (gold top), serum (red top) or heparin (green top)
Sample volume 0.5 mL
Turnaround time Up to 6 weeks

Not currently performed in house; this is a referred test.