Rhabdomyolysis affects about one out of
10,000 people in the United States, with slighter higher incidence
in men. Rhabdomyolysis may result from any condition that causes
damage to skeletal muscle, especially trauma. Rhabdomyolysis
accounts for an estimated eight to fifteen precent of cases of
acute renal failure. About five percent of rhabdomyolysis cases
result in death.
Symptoms of rhabdomyolysis include muscle
pain, weakness, tenderness, malaise, fever, dark urine, nausea,
and vomiting. A person suffering from rhabdomyolysis may also
experience weight gain, seizures, joint pain, and fatigue. Fluid
loss and resulting electrolyte imbalance may cause agitation,
confusion, and an altered mental status. The muscle pain may
involve specific groups of muscles or may occur throughout the
body. Most frequently the involved muscle groups include the
thighs, calves and lower back; however, some patients report
no symptoms of muscle injury.
Since Rhabdomyolysis has many causes it may not be obvious to the physician especially if the symptoms are subtle. However, since the disease can result in acute renal failure, doctors and patients should be alert.