Stephanie Kuleba, an 18-year-old West Boca High School senior died Saturday due to complications that had occurred during the breast surgery performed the day earlier.

The girl’s death has been linked to malignant hyperthermia, a hard-to-detect genetic condition triggered by certain anesthetics where the body heats up to dangerous levels.

Stephanie Kuleba was one of the most popular and kindest girls in the school who had everything going for her and a bright future ahead. She underwent plastic surgery to correct asymmetrical breasts and inverted nipples – a type of surgery common for teenage girls nowadays.
The death occurred due to malignant hyperthermia irrespective of the surgery performed and her age.

Malignant hyperthermia is a metabolic condition that can be triggered by some of the inhaled anesthetics. The patient doesn’t know they have the disorder until the reaction happens. The only way to realize if there are genetic traits is through family history and probing questions.

Malignant hyperthermia is a rare disorder and anesthesiologists might come across the condition only ones in their careers. The symptoms include increase in heart rate and body temperature and muscles become rigid. Ninety percent of people diagnosed with the condition survive if treated on time.

While the doctors were struggling for the girl’s life, intubating her to open her airway and shocking her heart, one of the plastic surgeon's Boca Raton office staff called 911 for help. The dispatcher didn’t seem to have heard of the terms malignant hyperthermia or endotracheal tube. It took 30 to 40 minutes for rescue workers to get Stephanie to Delray Medical Center, where she passed away Saturday morning, less than 24 hours after the surgery.

During the emergency procedure, the surgeons phoned the hotline of the Malignant Hyperthermia Association who consulted an expert from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. The girl was administered the antidote drug dantrolene.

There is a question if Stephanie’s death could have been prevented. The name of the anesthesiologist will be released following the autopsy when all the facts are gathered together. Schuster, the plastic surgeon, feels that both the care and treatment he rendered was appropriate. Schuster is of course devastated and sends his condolences to the girl’s family.

The incident has sparked a national debate on whether young people should expose to these kinds of operations only for beauty’s sake.