Rhabdomyolysis is a disease process whereby damage sustained by the muscle fibers leads to the dissolution of the compromised structural components of the muscle fibers of the involved area. The subsequent elimination of the waste products released can be toxic to the kidneys and can lead to renal failure. Rhabdomyolysis is seen after crushing injuries and contusions but has been reported after extreme overuse episodes such as heavy or maximized weight training. It may be seen as well with compartment syndrome.
The patient usually presents with acute pain and swelling in the thigh or involved area. Urine output may decrease with darkening of the urine as the renal involvement becomes more apparent. Laboratory studies will show increased myoglobin in the blood and urine. Fluid support and alkalinization of the patient's urine is initiated to maintain output, which is monitored with a Foley catheter in a hospital setting. This syndrome usually develops over a period of several hours. The patient's condition will deteriorate unless the syndrome is recognized and the afore mentioned medical intervention is undertaken. Medical support is usually adequate for management with resolution of rhab-domyolysis, but, depending on the cause, appropriate compartment release or debridement may also be needed.
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