Skip to content

Information and Resources

Rhabdomyolysis

Font Size
A
A
A

Rhabdomyolysis Signs and Symptoms continued...

Blood tests for creatine kinase, a product of muscle breakdown and urine tests for myoglobin, a relative of hemoglobin that is released from damaged muscles can help diagnose rhabdomyolysis. Other tests may rule out other problems, confirm the cause of rhabdomyolysis, or check for complications.

Common complications of rhabdomyolysis include very high levels of potassium in the blood which can lead to an irregular heartbeat or cardiac arrest and kidney damage (which occurs in up to half of patients). About one in four also develop problems with their liver. A condition called compartment syndrome may also occur after fluid resuscitation. This serious compression of nerves, blood vessels, and muscles can cause tissue damage and problems with blood flow.

Rhabdomyolysis Treatments

Early diagnosis and treatment of rhabdomyolysis and its causes are keys to a successful outcome. You can expect full recovery with prompt treatment. Doctors can even reverse kidney damage. However, if compartment syndrome is not treated early enough, it may cause lasting damage.

If you have rhabdomyolysis, you will be admitted to the hospital to receive treatment for the cause. Treatment with intravenous (IV) fluids helps maintain urine production and prevent kidney failure.  Rarely, dialysis treatment may be needed to help your kidneys filter waste products while they are recovering. Management of electrolyte abnormalities (potassium, calcium and phosphorus) helps protect your heart and other organs. You may also need a surgical procedure (fasciotomy) to relieve tension or pressure and loss of circulation if compartment syndrome threatens muscle death or nerve damage. In some cases, you may need to be in the intensive care unit (ICU) to allow close monitoring. 

Most causes of rhabdomyolysis are reversible.

If rhabdomyolysis is related to a medical condition, such as diabetes or a thyroid disorder, appropriate treatment for the medical condition will be needed. And if rhabdomyolysis is related to a medication or drug, its use will need to be stopped or replaced with an alternative.

After treatment, discuss with your doctor any needed limitations on diet or activity. And, of course, avoid any potential causes of rhabdomyolysis in the future.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Lisa B. Bernstein, MD on October 13, 2014
1 | 2

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

feet
Solutions for 19 types.
MS Overview
Recognizing symptoms.
pregnancy test and calendar
Helping you get pregnant.
build a better butt
How to build a better butt.
lone star tick
How to identify that bite.
woman standing behind curtains
How it affects you.
brain scan with soda
Tips to avoid complications.
row of colored highlighter pens
Tips for living better.
psoriasis
How to keep flares at bay.
woman dreaming
What Do Your Dreams Say About You?
spinal compression fracture
Treatment options.

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.