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Rhabdomyolysis Complications

Several complications can occur when a person has rhabdomyolysis. Although not necessarily a complete list of what might take place as a result of this condition, some possibilities are discussed below. Keep in mind that symptoms may be present (such as low blood pressure), but these might not be considered the same as complications.

Compartment syndrome

In this situation, a "compartment" in the body becomes compressed. This elevated pressure can affect things like muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. Tissue death occurs due to an insufficient level of oxygen. Clinically, it is often described as where the pressure is greater than 30 mmHg, however, there is at least one other diagnostic level in which the difference between the pressure in the compartment and the person's diastolic blood pressure is less than 30 mmHg. Treatment to relieve the pressure in acute compartment syndrome is done through a surgical procedure which is known as fasciotomy. Read more about compartment syndrome.

Disseminated intravascular coagulation

Another complication that may arise in cases of rhabdomyolysis, this condition is also abbreviated as DIC, and sometimes referred to by the name of consumptive coagulopathy. In this situation, small blood clots form within the person's blood vessels. Coagulation proteins and platelets are taken by these clots, and this stops normal coagulation from occurring. At that point, there may be unusual bleeding, such as in the GI tract, respiratory tract, etc. Other complications can occur from this condition, including renal failure and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome.

Acute kidney injury (AKI)

In this situation, there is a speedy drop in kidney function. Complications that in turn can arise from AKI are varied, and may differ particularly in different levels of severity of the condition. The underlying medical cause of the issue should be treated once acute kidney injury has been diagnosed.

Abnormal electrolyte levels

This issue is frequently seen in patients that have an early stage of rhabdomyolysis. For instance, early on, levels of calcium tend to be low. However, when the patient begins to get better, calcium levels may end up going above the normal range. In rhabdomyolysis patients who develop renal failure, this excessive amount of calcium, known as hypercalcemia, occurs roughly 20 to 30 percent of the time.