Succinylcholine-induced apnea is a common problem in pre-hospital medicine that affects 1/1800 patients who undergo rapid sequence intubation. Succinylcholine is an anesthetic that mimics the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. It binds to cholinergic receptors, blocking acetylcholine access, and causes paralysis for (normally) only a short time. Butyrylcholinesterase, which is responsible for succinylcholine hydrolysis, is deficient in a small percentage of the population.
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