Rhabdomyolysis

Get the details on rhabdomyolysis.

Rhabdomyolysis

Rhabdomyolysis is a condition in which injury to skeletal muscle tissue causes it to quickly break down. This results in the release of myoglobin and other breakdown products into the bloodstream. Acute kidney failure (acute renal failure) may result from such a situation.

Causes

A crush injury is commonly behind rhabdomyolysis. Chemical and biological causes may also be at play. In general, if something leads to muscle tissue destruction, then it can bring on this condition. More information on these items may be found on the causes page.

Damage to the skeletal muscle may occur in multiple ways. In a crush injury, the muscle tissue's cells are harmed directly. Some situations interfere with metabolism which leads to the same result.

Symptoms

When the muscle tissue fills with fluid from the patient's bloodstream, and the swelling may lead to damage to or destruction of the muscle cells. Please visit the symptoms page to learn about signs and symptoms of rhabdomyolysis.

Diagnosis

A suspected diagnosis may exist for individuals who have been subjected to something known to cause this condition, such as a crush injury or other physical trauma. Later on, a diagnosis may be confirmed by noting kidney function deterioration, or urine discoloration of a brown, red, or pink shade. Continue to the diagnosis section for more details.

Treatment and Possible Complications

One of the main concerns with rhabdomyolysis sufferers is acute kidney failure. This typically occurs 1-2 days after the initial incident causing muscle tissue damage. Therefore, treatment for rhabdomyolysis may include consideration for potential acute kidney failure, and may eventually lead to treatment for that condition. More information on general treatment options for rhabdomyolysis is available on the treatment page. Information on some possible complications is also available to be read.

Historical Information

In 1944, British physician Eric Bywaters was able to demonstrate that myoglobin was the main cause of the acute kidney failure associated with rhabdomyolysis. This is after he, along with D. Beall, studied four patients during the 1941 London Blitz.

Earlier recent accounts previous to the 1941 London Blitz came from the 1908 Messina earthquake in Italy, and World War I.

Recent major events causing mass rhabdomyolysis cases include the 1988 Spitak earthquake in Armenia, and the 1999 Izmit earthquake in Turkey.


Rhabdo-myo-what?

The word is long, and fairly complicated to remember, so it should come as no surprise that it is often misspelled. We noticed various misspellings of rhabdomyolysis on the Internet. Some, though, could have been from other languages and very similar to, yet distinct in spelling from, the main word in question.