Rhabdomyolysis: an overview for pre-hospital clinicians

Rhabdomyolysis is a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when muscle tissue breaks down, leading to the release of the cellular contents into the circulation. There are broad ranges of causes for this, both physical and non-physical.This article aims to introduce pre-hospital clinicians to what rhabdomyolysis is, the causes of the condition, and also discusses the implications for pre-hospital practice before outlining management.The authors highlight how many of the causes for the condition are frequently encountered in pre-hospital practice and how even those cases which may appear initially simple, such as the elderly fall, can be complicated by rhabdomyolysis in as little as an hour.Finally, recommendations are made for more work to be undertaken to understand the frequency with which patients encountered by ambulance services go on to develop this condition, as well as encouraging those responsible for producing national guidelines to include this condition in their future publications.

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