The syndrome of rhabdomyolysis: complications and treatment

Yiannis S Chatzizisis, Gesthimani Misirli, Apostolos I Hatzitolios, George D Giannoglou
European Journal of Internal Medicine 2008, 19 (8): 568-74
Rhabdomyolysis is a syndrome of skeletal muscle cell damage that leads to the release of toxic intracellular material into the systemic circulation. The pathogenesis of rhabdomyolysis is based on an increase in free ionized calcium in the cytoplasm. Its main complications include (a) acute renal failure, which is triggered by renal vasoconstriction and ischemia, (b) myoglobin cast formation in the distal convoluted tubules, and (c) direct renal toxic effect of myoglobin on the epithelial cells of proximal convoluted tubules. Other major complications include electrolyte disorders, such as hyperkalemia, which may cause cardiac arrhythmias, metabolic acidosis, hyperphosphatemia, early hypocalcemia, and late hypercalcemia. Compartmental syndrome and disseminated intravascular coagulopathy may also emerge. The management of myoglobinuric acute renal failure includes aggressive fluid administration to restore the hypovolemia and urine alkalization. The concomitant electrolyte and metabolic disorders should also be treated appropriately; hemodialysis should be considered when life-threatening hyperkalemia and metabolic acidosis exist. In the case of compartmental syndrome, it is important to monitor the intra-compartmental pressure and to perform fasciotomy, if required. When diagnosed early and if the appropriate treatment is initiated promptly, the complications of rhabdomyolysis are preventable and the syndrome has a good prognosis.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"

We want to hear from doctors like you!

Take a second to answer a survey question.