Exertional rhabdomyolysis leading to acute kidney injury: when genetic defects are diagnosed in adult life
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Rhabdomyolysis is a common cause of acute kidney injury (AKI) that is usually triggered by trauma. However, less common causes of rhabdomyolysis may precipitate AKI as well, possibly representing a diagnostic challenge even for the experienced nephrologist. Genetic defects of muscle metabolism represent one of these causes and can be overlooked in adults, since these diseases usually become apparent in childhood. We present here a case in which an adult patient with severe exertional rhabdomyolysis leading to AKI was finally diagnosed with a genetic defect of lipid metabolism. A 41-year-old patient was brought to our attention because of AKI and pigmenturia after strenuous physical effort. At admission, the patient was over-hydrated with a weight increase of 3 kg in few days. Laboratory examination showed creatinine of 8.7 mg/dl, along with increased myoglobin and CPK. Urinalysis was positive for haemoglobin and proteins, while urinary sediment analysis did not demonstrate any red blood cell but rather “muddy-brown” casts and tubular cells. Urine output was forced and the patient completely recovered renal function. Genetic analysis later demonstrated the presence of a common mutation of Carnitine Palmitoyl-Transferase II (CPTII). When facing rhabdomyolysis of obscure origin, nephrologists must keep in mind the possibility that even adult patients may have a genetic defect of energy metabolism. In these cases, patients usually experience rhabdomyolysis during exertion, fasting, or infection. CPTII deficiency often has a subtle presentation and might be unrecognized until AKI develops. Therefore, it is important to consider a genetic defect of muscle metabolism even in adult patients when a history of rhabdomyolysis of unclear origin is present.
KeywordsRhabdomyolysis Carnitine palmitoyl 2 deficiency Acute kidney injury Urinary sediment Myoglobinuria Muscle cells necrosis
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Conflict of interest
All the authors have declared no competing interest.
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This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
Informed consent was obtained from the patient for the publication of his case.