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.
Prolonged apnoea during surgical procedure
|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.