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Cluster of exertional rhabdomyolysis in three young women


Three young women, aged 18–24 years, presented to general practice with signs and symptoms of exertional rhabdomyolysis in 2016. All attended the same gym and had undertaken an intensive physical workout. Presenting symptoms were severe muscle pain and swelling, significantly reduced range of motion in affected muscles and, in two cases, dark-coloured urine. One case had presented to the out-of-hours service 4 months previously with similar symptoms but rhabdomyolysis was not considered, although retrospective history taking suggests that was the likely diagnosis. All three women were admitted to hospital, treated with intravenous fluids and discharged between 1 and 6 days later. All made a full recovery with no renal sequelae. The cases were questioned about potential risk factors, and the only commonality was unaccustomed strenuous exercise.

  • general practice / family medicine
  • public health
  • sports and exercise medicine

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