Rhabdomyolysis, the destruction of striated skeletal muscle, is a medical condition that occurs when a person’s muscle break down occurs at a rate faster than their body can clear. Muscle break down products, including enzymes and proteins, are harmful to the body when they build up. Myoglobin, the protein in muscles that carries and stores oxygen, is released into the bloodstream. Myoglobin is typically only found in the bloodstream after a muscle injury. The presence of myoglobin in the bloodstream, determined via laboratory tests, is clinically significant and assists in the diagnosis of rhabdomyolysis. Myoglobin is a red protein similar to hemoglobin. When these red cells spill into urine, the urine changes color, often referred to as a tea-colored, or reddish brown.
Information. There are approximately 26,000 cases of rhabdomyolysis per year in the United States. Rhabdomyolysis occurs suddenly and may be life threatening, certainly life altering, without proper treatment. Due to the urgent nature, suspected cases of rhabdomyolysis should always be evaluated at the closest Emergency Room.