Physical damage


Usually trauma


Brown colored urine, muscle pain, vomiting, confusion

Mortality Rate

Up to 20%


Fluids, dialysis

Show Information

Rhabdomyolysis or Rhabdo is the rapid breakdown of muscle tissue which leads to release of the breakdown products into the bloodstream. Some of these by-products, such as myoglobin, can damage the kidneys. Rhabdomyolysis can result from severe exertion of the muscle, crushing, lack of blood supply to the muscle (see also muscle death), metabolic disorders, extremes of body temperature, drugs, toxins, infection or autoimmune disorders. Some people are genetically disposed to developing rhabdo.

Rhabdo can be diagnosed through creatine kinase levels, high potassium levels, and low calcium levels. It should be assumed that anyone suffering severe crushing trauma will develop it. Patients should be given generous amounts of saline and monitored for imbalances in electrolytes.

It is this condition that crippled House as a result of a popliteal aneurysn that formed a thrombus, causing his leg muscles to undergo necrosis due to the lack of blood. House was given the option to amputate his leg, which he refused. He asked for a bypass surgery that failed. The pain became unbearable that he asked to be put under a chemical-induced Coma. His wife at the time, his health proxy, opted to have the damaged tissue be surgically excised as an alternative. The surgery although curing House left him crippled with chronic leg pain. 

Rhabdomyolysis at Wikipedia - the featured article for September 20, 2011.

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