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Rhabdomyolysis is a condition where injured muscles release harmful substances into the bloodstream. These substances include potassium, phosphate, creatinine kinase, and myoglobin. Large amounts of these substances may damage your kidneys and other organs.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

A central line

is an IV that is put into a vein in your neck, groin, or near your collarbone. Other central lines, such as a PICC, may be put into your arm. You may need a central line to receive medicines or IV fluids that need to be given through a big vein. A central line is used if it is hard for healthcare providers to insert a regular IV. Central lines can stay in longer than a regular IV.

A Foley catheter

is a tube put into your bladder to drain urine into a bag. Keep the bag below your waist. This will prevent urine from flowing back into your bladder and causing an infection or other problems. Also, keep the tube free of kinks so the urine will drain properly. Do not pull on the catheter. This can cause pain and bleeding, and may cause the catheter to come out.

A heart monitor

, or EKG, is when sticky pads are placed on your skin to record your heart's electrical activity.

Intake and output

is when healthcare providers keep track of the amount of liquid you are getting. They also may need to know how much you are urinating. Ask how much liquid you should drink each day and if you should save your urine.


Large amounts of IV fluid are given to help flush myoglobin and other substances through your kidneys. Other medicines may be added to the IV, such as:

  • Mannitol and diuretics help your body get rid of fluid. They also help flush out harmful substances from your muscles that may collect in your kidneys.
  • Sodium bicarbonate helps reduce the acidity of your urine and the harmful effects of myoglobin to your kidneys.


  • Blood and urine tests may show damage to your kidneys and liver. These tests may also show which substances are released by your injured muscles.
  • A CT or MRI may show the muscle injuries or changes. You may be given contrast liquid to help the muscles show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.
  • A biopsy from your muscle may show which substances are being released. This can help healthcare providers plan your treatment.


  • Dialysis cleans your blood when your kidneys cannot. Extra water, chemicals, and waste products are removed from your blood by a dialyzer or dialysis machine. The dialysis machine does this by passing your blood through a special filter, then returning it back to you.
  • A blood transfusion is when you are given whole or parts of blood through an IV. Blood is tested for diseases, such as hepatitis and HIV, to be sure it is safe.
  • Fasciotomy is surgery to cut tissues that cover your muscles. This decreases pressure on blood vessels and nerves caused by swelling of the injured muscle.


You may have increased pressure in a confined part in your body due to swelling or bleeding. You may also have kidney failure, bleeding disorders, or heart and lung conditions. If not treated, rhabdomyolysis may cause serious problems with electrolytes in your body. This can lead to heart and kidney problems and may be life-threatening.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Rhabdomyolysis (Inpatient Care)

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