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Definition Return to top
Rhabdomyolysis is the breakdown of muscle fibers resulting in the release of muscle fiber contents (myoglobin) into the bloodstream. Some of these are harmful to the kidney and frequently result in kidney damage.
Causes Return to top
When muscle is damaged, a protein pigment called myoglobin is released into the bloodstream and filtered out of the body by the kidneys. Myoglobin breaks down into potentially harmful compounds. It may block the structures of the kidney, causing damage such as acute tubular necrosis or kidney failure.
Dead muscle tissue may cause a large amount of fluid to move from the blood into the muscle, reducing the fluid volume of the body and leading to shock and reduced blood flow to the kidneys.
The disorder may be caused by any condition that results in damage to skeletal muscle, especially trauma.
Risk factors include the following:
Symptoms Return to top
Exams and Tests Return to top
An examination reveals tender or damaged skeletal muscles.
This disease may also alter the results of the following tests:
Treatment Return to top
Early and aggressive fluids (hydration) may prevent complications by rapidly remove myoglobin out of the kidneys. Fluids may need to be given by I.V. The fluid needs with muscle necrosis may equal the massive fluid volume needs of a severely burned patient.
Medicines that may be prescribed include diuretics and bicarbonate (if urine output is sufficient).
Hyperkalemia should be treated if present. Kidney failure should be treated as appropriate.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
The outcome varies depending on the extent of kidney damage.
Possible Complications Return to top
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if symptoms indicate rhabdomyolysis may be present.
Prevention Return to top
Drink plenty of fluids after strenous exercise to dilute the urine and flush the myoglobin out of the kidney. Proper hydration is also necessary after any condition or event that may involve damage to skeletal muscle.Update Date: 8/14/2007 Updated by: Charles Silberberg, DO, Private Practice specializing in Nephrology, Affiliated with New York Medical College, Division of Nephrology, Valhalla, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.