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Isolated rhabdomyolysis of long head of triceps mimicking upper extremity deep vein thrombosis
  1. Benjamin Filipopoulos1,2 and
  2. Sharmila Balanathan3
  1. 1Medicine, Northern Hospital Epping, Epping, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2Surgery, Austin Health, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3Vascular Surgery, Epworth HealthCare, Richmond, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Benjamin Filipopoulos; bfilipopoulos{at}


Rhabdomyolysis is characterised by skeletal muscle breakdown, with release of toxic intracellular contents into the circulation. A man in his 20s presented to the emergency department with acute-onset right arm swelling, with pitting oedema extending into his forearm without clear precipitant. Initial differential diagnosis was upper extremity deep vein thrombosis, however none was identified on CT venogram. Instead, rhabdomyolysis of long head of triceps was diagnosed after multidisciplinary review of the venogram by the treating vascular surgeon and radiologist. Retrospectively, added serum creatine kinase was found to be 11 587 U/L, and together with MRI of the right arm, the diagnosis was established. Given the patient’s lack of comorbidities, normal renal function and reliability, he was managed conservatively as an outpatient without hospital admission for intravenous hydration. This is the only case to our knowledge of isolated long head of triceps’ rhabdomyolysis reported in Australia and the second case worldwide.

  • musculoskeletal and joint disorders
  • muscle disease
  • musculoskeletal syndromes
  • vascular surgery

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  • Contributors BF drafted the work and figures, as well as collated investigations and SB reviewed and drafted the work, oversaw clinical management and gave approval for the final piece.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Case reports provide a valuable learning resource for the scientific community and can indicate areas of interest for future research. They should not be used in isolation to guide treatment choices or public health policy.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.