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[2023] A 27-year-old patient with a history of substance abuse is found unresponsive by emergency medical services (EMS) after being called by the patient’s roommate

Last Updated on 05/31/2023 by Admin

A 27-year-old patient with a history of substance abuse is found unresponsive by emergency medical services (EMS) after being called by the patient’s roommate

A 27-year-old patient with a history of substance abuse is found unresponsive by emergency medical services (EMS) after being called by the patient’s roommate

A 27-year-old patient with a history of substance abuse is found unresponsive


Scenario: A 27-year-old patient with a history of substance abuse is found unresponsive by emergency medical services (EMS) after being called by the patient’s roommate. The roommate states that he does not know how long the patient had been lying there. Patient received naloxone in the field and has become responsive. He complains of burning pain over his left hip and forearm. Evaluation in the ED revealed a large amount of necrotic tissue over the greater trochanter as well as the forearm. EKG demonstrated prolonged PR interval and peaked T waves. Serum potassium level 6.9 mEq/L.

For this Discussion, you will examine the above case study and explain the disease that is suggested. You examine the symptoms reported and explain the cells that are involved and potential alterations and impacts.

To prepare

Post an explanation of the disease highlighted in the scenario you were provided. Include the following in your explanation:

  • The role genetics plays in the disease.
  • Why the patient is presenting with the specific symptoms described.
  • The physiologic response to the stimulus presented in the scenario and why you think this response occurred.
  • The cells that are involved in this process.
  • How another characteristic (e.g., gender, genetics) would change your response.

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ANSWERED!! Mrs. Allen is a 68-year-old African American who presents to the clinic for prescription refills. The patient indicates that she has noticed shortness of breath which started about 3 months ago

Rhabdomyolysis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Rhabdomyolysis is a medical condition characterized by the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, leading to the release of muscle cell contents into the bloodstream. This condition can be caused by various factors, including physical exertion, genetic predisposition, and certain medications. Understanding the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for rhabdomyolysis is essential for early detection and effective management of the condition.

Introduction to Rhabdomyolysis

Rhabdomyolysis is a condition that occurs when damaged or injured skeletal muscle tissue breaks down, releasing substances into the bloodstream that can be harmful to the body. The breakdown of muscle cells results in the release of myoglobin, creatine kinase, electrolytes, and other cell contents into the bloodstream, which can overwhelm the kidneys and potentially lead to kidney failure if not promptly treated.

Understanding the Causes of Rhabdomyolysis

Physical Exertion and Muscle Injury

One of the primary causes of rhabdomyolysis is intense physical exertion or muscle injury. Activities such as strenuous exercise, weightlifting, and endurance training can cause muscle breakdown, especially when performed excessively or without adequate rest periods. Additionally, traumatic injuries, crush injuries, and severe muscle compression can also lead to rhabdomyolysis.

Genetic Factors and Metabolic Disorders

Genetic factors and inherited muscle disorders can increase the risk of developing rhabdomyolysis. Certain genetic conditions, such as McArdle disease, myoadenylate deaminase deficiency, and carnitine palmitoyltransferase deficiency, impair the muscle’s ability to produce energy and eliminate waste products, making individuals more susceptible to rhabdomyolysis.

Drug and Medication-Induced Rhabdomyolysis

The use of certain medications can trigger rhabdomyolysis in some individuals. Statin medications, commonly prescribed to manage high cholesterol levels, have been associated with a rare but serious side effect of muscle breakdown. Other medications, such as antipsychotics, antidepressants, and certain illicit drugs, can also increase the risk of rhabdomyolysis.

Recognizing the Symptoms of Rhabdomyolysis

Identifying the symptoms of rhabdomyolysis is crucial for early diagnosis and timely intervention. While the severity and presentation of symptoms can vary, there are some common signs to watch for.

Muscle Pain and Weakness

One of the early signs of rhabdomyolysis is muscle pain and weakness. Affected individuals may experience muscle soreness, stiffness, and difficulty in performing everyday activities. The pain can be localized or affect multiple muscle groups, and it may worsen with movement.

Dark Urine and Kidney Complications

Another significant symptom of rhabdomyolysis is the presence of dark-colored urine, often described as tea-colored or cola-colored. This discoloration occurs due to the release of myoglobin, a protein found in muscle cells, into the bloodstream and subsequent excretion through the urine. Additionally, rhabdomyolysis can lead to acute kidney injury and other complications, such as electrolyte imbalances and fluid overload.

Other Signs and Symptoms

In addition to muscle pain, weakness, and dark urine, rhabdomyolysis can present with several other symptoms. These may include fatigue, swelling, tenderness, decreased urine output, nausea, vomiting, confusion, and in severe cases, seizures or loss of consciousness. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention promptly.

Diagnosing Rhabdomyolysis

Diagnosing rhabdomyolysis typically involves a combination of physical examination, medical history assessment, and laboratory tests. Prompt diagnosis is crucial to prevent further muscle damage and potential kidney complications.

Physical Examination and Medical History

During a physical examination, a healthcare professional may evaluate muscle tenderness, swelling, and the extent of muscle weakness. They will also inquire about recent physical activities, injuries, medications, and any family history of muscle disorders to assess the potential underlying causes.

Blood and Urine Tests

Blood tests are commonly performed to assess the levels of creatine kinase (CK), myoglobin, electrolytes, and kidney function. Elevated levels of CK and myoglobin in the bloodstream are indicative of muscle breakdown. Urine tests may also be conducted to detect myoglobin and assess kidney function.

Imaging Studies and Muscle Biopsy

In certain cases, imaging studies such as ultrasound, MRI, or CT scans may be ordered to evaluate the extent of muscle damage and assess the presence of any associated complications. In rare instances where the diagnosis is unclear, a muscle biopsy may be performed to examine the muscle tissue microscopically.

Treatment Options for Rhabdomyolysis

The treatment approach for rhabdomyolysis aims to prevent further muscle damage, manage complications, and address the underlying causes of the condition.

Fluid Replacement and Electrolyte Management

One of the primary treatment interventions for rhabdomyolysis is fluid replacement therapy. Intravenous fluids are administered to maintain adequate hydration and prevent kidney damage caused by myoglobin-induced tubular obstruction. Electrolyte imbalances are also corrected through appropriate supplementation.

Medications and Interventions to Protect the Kidneys

In some cases, medications may be prescribed to support kidney function and prevent kidney damage. These may include diuretics to increase urine output and flush out myoglobin, as well as medications to manage complications such as hyperkalemia (high potassium levels) or acidosis (imbalanced pH levels).

Addressing Underlying Causes

To prevent recurrent episodes of rhabdomyolysis, it is essential to address and manage the underlying causes. This may involve modifying exercise routines, adjusting medication dosages, or discontinuing medications known to trigger rhabdomyolysis. Genetic counseling and testing may be recommended for individuals with suspected or confirmed genetic muscle disorders.

Preventive Measures for Rhabdomyolysis

While rhabdomyolysis may not always be preventable, certain measures can help reduce the risk of developing the condition.

Proper Hydration and Gradual Exercise

Maintaining proper hydration during physical activities is crucial to prevent muscle breakdown. Adequate fluid intake before, during, and after exercise helps support muscle function and prevents dehydration. Additionally, individuals should gradually increase the intensity and duration of exercise to allow their muscles to adapt and minimize the risk of injury.

Monitoring and Managing Medications

If you are taking medications known to increase the risk of rhabdomyolysis, it is important to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions carefully. Regular monitoring of kidney function and muscle enzyme levels may be recommended to ensure early detection of any potential complications.

Genetic Counseling and Testing

If there is a family history of genetic muscle disorders or if you experience recurrent episodes of rhabdomyolysis, genetic counseling and testing can help identify any underlying genetic factors. This information can assist in developing personalized prevention and management strategies.

Complications and Long-Term Effects of Rhabdomyolysis

Rhabdomyolysis can lead to various complications, some of which can have long-term effects on an individual’s health and well-being.

Acute Kidney Injury and Renal Failure

One of the most significant complications of rhabdomyolysis is acute kidney injury (AKI). The release of myoglobin into the bloodstream can cause obstruction of the renal tubules, leading to decreased urine output and impaired kidney function. In severe cases, this can progress to renal failure, requiring dialysis or kidney transplantation.

Compartment Syndrome and Tissue Damage

In some instances, rhabdomyolysis can lead to compartment syndrome, a condition characterized by increased pressure within a muscle compartment. This increased pressure can compress blood vessels and nerves, causing tissue damage and potential loss of limb function. Prompt surgical intervention may be necessary to relieve the pressure and prevent further complications.

Development of Secondary Conditions

Individuals who have experienced rhabdomyolysis may be at an increased risk of developing secondary conditions, such as chronic kidney disease, muscle weakness or wasting, and exercise intolerance. Regular medical follow-up and appropriate management strategies are essential to minimize the long-term effects of rhabdomyolysis.

Recovery and Rehabilitation After Rhabdomyolysis

Recovering from rhabdomyolysis involves a comprehensive approach that includes physical therapy, psychological support, and lifestyle modifications.

Physical Therapy and Exercise

Following the acute phase of rhabdomyolysis, physical therapy plays a crucial role in regaining muscle strength, improving flexibility, and restoring functional abilities. A personalized rehabilitation program, supervised by a qualified physical therapist, can help individuals gradually reintroduce physical activities, prevent re-injury, and optimize their overall physical well-being.

Psychological Support and Coping Strategies

The experience of rhabdomyolysis can be emotionally challenging, especially for individuals who have undergone severe muscle damage or kidney complications. Psychological support, counseling, and coping strategies can aid in managing anxiety, depression, and adjusting to any long-term physical limitations. It is important to reach out to healthcare professionals and support networks for guidance and assistance during the recovery process.

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