Rhabdomyolysis occurs when skeletal muscles are damaged and release myoglobin into the bloodstream. Myoglobin is an iron-containing pigment that can cause severe damage to the kidneys.
Rhabdomyolysis results from any condition that causes significant muscle damage. These include:
Factors that may increase the risk of muscle damage include:
The most common symptoms include:
Other symptoms include:
In severe cases, rhabdomyolysis may result in:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include:
Your bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done with:
The activity of your muscles and heart may be tested. This can be done with:
Treatment may include:
Giving large amounts of fluid is the main treatment. Fluids are usually given by IV. Hydration helps to quickly flush myoglobin out of the kidneys to restore their function.
Dialysis is a procedure that uses an artificial kidney machine to filter blood. The clean blood is then returned to your body.
American Academy of Family Physicians
National Kidney Foundation
The Kidney Foundation of Canada
Criddle L. Rhabdomyolysis. Crit Care Nurse. 2003 Dec 23(6):14-30.
Rhabdomyolysis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com. Updated October 28, 2012. Accessed July 15, 2013.
Sauret J, Marinides G. Rhabdomyolysis. Am Fam Physician. 2002 Mar 1:65(5):907-913.
Last reviewed July 2013 by Adrienne Carmack, MD; Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.