Rhabdomyolysis

Rhabdomyolysis is a critical disorder brought about by a direct or secondary muscular injury. It often results from the death of the muscle fibers and distribute of their contents into the bloodstream.

This results to the development of certain complications including kidney failure which occurs if the kidneys could not get rid of waste and concentrated urine. In rare instances, rhabdomyolysis can result to death. Nevertheless, immediate treatment often brings a favorable outcome.

What are the causes of rhabdomyolysis?

There are various causes and the most common causes include the following:

  • Extreme muscle strain particularly among untrained athletes.
  • Use of illegal drugs or alcohol
  • Crushing injury from a fall or vehicular accident
    Rhabdomyolysis

    The indications of rhabdomyolysis are difficult to pinpoint since the course of the disease varies depending on the exact cause.

  • Prolonged muscle compression such as during extended periods of immobilization after a fall or being unconscious on a hard surface while sick or while under the influence of medication or alcohol.
  • Using medications such as statins or antipsychotics especially in large doses

There are also other possible causes such as:

  • Seizures
  • Electric shock injury, third-degree burn or a lightning strike
  • Hyperthermia or heat stroke
  • Viral infections such as the flu, herpes simplex virus or HIV
  • Metabolic disorders such as ketoacidosis
  • Muscular diseases such as Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy
  • Bacterial infections that causes release of toxins in the tissues or bloodstream

What are the indications?

The indications of rhabdomyolysis are difficult to pinpoint since the course of the disease varies depending on the exact cause. The symptoms might occur in one region of the body or affect the entire body. In addition, complications can develop in the early or late stages.

Common signs and symptoms

  • Muscle pain particularly in the thighs, shoulders or lower back
  • Abdominal pain
  • Muscle weakness or difficulty moving the legs or arms
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fever
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Confusion
  • Dehydration
  • Dark red or brownish urine
  • Diminished urine output or no output at all
  • Loss of consciousness
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