Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Anaesthesia induced rhabdomyolysis a case report


Anaesthesia-induced rhabdomyolysis (AIR) is a rare but serious complication of general anaesthesia. We report the occurrence of this event in a previously healthy three-year-old male, with a strongly positive family history ofDuchenne muscular dystrophy. Following an uneventful anaesthetic, which included succinylcholine, myoglobinuria developed and led to renal failure which fortunately reversed with conservative treatment. Based on review of reports of similar cases, it is clear that succinylcholine should be avoided in paediatric patients with known myopathy or at high risk for latent myopathy.


La rhabdomyolyse causée par l’anesthésie générale (AIR) est une complication rare mais sérieuse. On a constaté un tel cas chez un garçon de trots arts, en bonne santé mais ayant des antécédents familiaux de dystrophie musculaire, type Duchenne. Apreès le cours normal de l’anesthésie générale incluant l’usage de la succinylcholine, l’enfant développa une myoglobinurie qui provoqua une insuffisance rénale. Heureusement, la fonction rénale reprit son cours normal suite à un traitement conservateur. Se basant sur les rapports d’autres cas semblables il est évident qu’on doit éviter l’administration de succinylcholine chez les enfants atleints de myopathie ou prédisposés à la myopathie.


  1. 1

    Rowland LP, Penn AS. Myoglobinuria, Med Clin N Am 1972; 56: 1233–56.

  2. 2

    Schaer H, Steinmann B, Jerusalem S et al. Rhabdomyolysis induced by anaesthesia with intra-operative cardiac arrest. Br J Anaesth 1977; 49: 495–9.

  3. 3

    Bennike KA, Jarum S. Myoglobinuria with acute renal failure possibly induced by suxamethonium. Br J Anaesth 1964; 36: 730–6.

  4. 4

    McLaren CAB. Myoglobinuria following the use of suxamethonium chloride. A case report. Br J Anaesth 1968; 40: 901–2.

  5. 5

    Jensen K, Bennike KA,Hanel HK, Olesen H. Myoglobinuria following anaesthesia including suxamethonium. Br J Anaesth 1968; 40: 329.

  6. 6

    Moore WE, Watson RL, Summary JJ. Massive myoglobinuria precipitated by halothane and succinylcholine in a member of a family with elevation of serum creatinine phosphokinase, Anaesth Analg 1976; 55: 680–2.

  7. 7

    Seay AR, Ziter FA, Thompson JA. Cardiac arrest during anaesthesia in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. J Pediatr 1978;93: 88.

  8. 8

    Miller ED, Sanders DB, Rowlingson JC, Berry FA, Sussman MD, Epstein RM. Anaesthesia-induced rhabdomyolysis in a patient with Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy. Anesthesiology 1978; 48: 146–8.

  9. 9

    Balthauser E, Steinmann B, Meyer A, Jerusalem FA. Anaesthesia-induced rhabdomyolysis in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Br J Anaesth 1980; 52: 559.

  10. 10

    Bernhardt D, Hoerder MH. Anesthesia-induced myoglobinuria without hyperpyrexia-an abortive form of malignant hyperthermia? Aldrete JA, Britt BA, eds, Malignant Hyperthermia, Grune & Stratton, New York, 1978; 419–25.

  11. 11

    Lewandowski K, Rhabdomyolysis, myoglobinuria and hyperpyrexia caused by suxamethonium in a child with increased serum creatinine kitiase concentrations. Br J Anaesth 1981; 53: 981–4.

  12. 12

    Lewandowski K. Strabismus as a possible sign of subclinical muscular dystrophy predisposing to rhabdomyolysis and myoglobinuria: A study of an affected family. Can Anaesth Soc J 1982; 29:4, 372–6.

  13. 13

    Innes R, Stromme J. Rise in serum creatinine phosphokinase associated with agents used in anaesthesia. Br J Anaesth 1973; 45: 185–90.

  14. 14

    Ryan J, Kagen L, Hyman A. Myoglobinemia after a single dose of succinylcholine. N Eng J Med 1971; 285: 824–7.

  15. 15

    Bloom D, Fonkalsrud E, Reynolds R. Malignant hyperpyrexia during anaesthesia in childhood. J Ped Surg 1976; 11:2, 185–90.

  16. 16

    Carballo A. Aborted Malignant Hyperthermia: A Case Report. Can Anaesth Soc J 1975; 22;2, 227–31.

  17. 17

    Plotz J, Braun J, Stallenberger R. The inhibitory effect of dantrolene on the rise of serum creatinine kinase activity after combined use of halothane and suxamethonium in man. Anaesthesist 1981; 30: 338–42.

  18. 18

    Plotz J, Braun J. Failure of “self-taming” doses of succinylcholine to inhibit increases in postoperative serum creatine kinase activity in children, Anesthesiology 1982; 56: 207–9.

  19. 19

    Inagaki M, Koyama A, Sakata S et al. Serum myoglobin levels following administration of succinylcholine during nitrous oxide - oxygen-halothane anesthesia. Jpn J Anesth 1980; 29: 1476–82.

  20. 20

    Tammisto T, Airahinen M. Increase of creatinine kinase activity in serum as a sign of muscular injury caused by intermittently administered suxamethonium during halothane anaesthesia. Br J Anaesth 1966; 38: 510–15.

  21. 21

    Tammisto T, Leikkonen P, Airakisinen M. The inhibitory effect of d-tubocurarine on the increase of creatinine kinase activity produced by intermittent suxamethonium administration during halothane anaesthesia. Acta Anaesthesiol. Scand 1967; 11:333–40.

  22. 22

    Tammisto R, Brander P, Airaksinen M, Tommola V, Lintola J. Strabismus as a possible sign of latent muscular disease predisposing to suxamethonium-induced muscular injury. Ann Clin Res 1970; 2; 126–30.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to J. D. McKishnie or D. P. Girvan.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

McKishnie, J.D., Girvan, D.P. Anaesthesia induced rhabdomyolysis a case report. Can Anaesth Soc J 30, 295–298 (1983).

Download citation

Key words

  • complications
  • anaesthesia-induced rhabdomyolysis