Spectrum of rhabdomyolysis in an acute hospital

  • Mary Clare McKennaEmail author
  • Michael Kelly
  • Gerard Boran
  • Peter Lavin
Brief Report


Rhabdomyolysis is a state of muscle necrosis with the hallmark being elevated creatine kinase that may cause acute kidney injury with serious consequences. It happens in many clinical settings. We sought to investigate all cases of rhabdomyolysis admitted to an acute hospital in Ireland over one calendar year. All cases of rhabdomyolysis admitted to a tertiary hospital over a 12-month period were reviewed. It was defined as serum creatine kinase greater than five times upper limit normal. The incidence, presenting characteristics and clinical outcomes, was collected from electronic records, electronic consult system and discharge summaries. Rhabdomyolysis was observed in 306 (1.7%) of all 18,297 admissions. It was seen most commonly in the setting of acute coronary syndrome (19.6%), post-operative state (18.0%), long-term confinement in the same position (16.3%), infection (9.2%) and seizures (6.5%). Overall mortality in this group was 16%. Acute kidney injury occurred in 43% of patients. Those with severe acute kidney injury (stage 3) had a mortality of 50%. Length of stay was significantly prolonged in the presence of acute kidney injury (p < 0.001). Surprisingly, in 44% of those with acute kidney injury, nephrology advice was not requested. Rhabdomyolysis is a common and a serious clinical condition across many specialties in an acute hospital that would likely benefit from nephrology involvement should acute kidney injury supervene.


Acute kidney injury Rhabdomyolysis 


Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval was granted by the Institutional Review Board.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary Clare McKenna
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michael Kelly
    • 2
  • Gerard Boran
    • 2
  • Peter Lavin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NephrologyTallaght University HospitalDublin 24Ireland
  2. 2.Department of PathologyTallaght University HospitalDublin 24Ireland

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