What is Rhabdomyolysis?

Rhabdomyolysis (often shortened to simply "rhabdo") is the rapid breakdown (''lysis'') of skeletal muscle (''rhabdomyo'') due to injury to muscle tissue.

The muscle damage may be caused by physical (e.g., crush injury), chemical, or biological factors.

The destruction of the muscle leads to the release of the breakdown products of damaged muscle cells into the bloodstream; some of these, such as myoglobin (a protein), are harmful to the kidney and may lead to acute kidney failure.

Treatment is with intravenous fluids, and dialysis or hemofiltration if necessary.

Swelling of the damaged muscle occasionally leads to compartment syndrome, the compression by swollen muscle of surrounding tissues in the same fascial compartment (such as nerves and blood vessels), leading to damage or loss of function in the part of the body supplied by these structures.

Symptoms of this complication include decreased blood supply, decrease in sensation, or pain in the affected limb.

Further Reading


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Last Updated: Sep 15, 2014

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