Sonographic appearance of rhabdomyolysis – a systematic review of the literature

Łukasz Sein Anand, Wojciech Kosiak


Rhabdomyolysis is the process of striated muscle cell lysis, during which proteins and microelements such as myoglobin are released into the bloodstream. It is important to diagnose rhabdomyolysis as soon as possible and start the treatment according to severity, as it is a state that significantly increases the mortality of the patients. The current gold standard of rhabdomyolysis diagnosis is the creatine kinase plasma concentration test, but it can be also diagnosed with imaging techniques, such as ultrasound (US). This review aims to gather previously published information regarding sonographic appearance of rhabdomyolysis. We searched through PubMed and ScienceDirect databases for studies using designed queries. After the selection process we were left with 13 studies containing a description of US appearance of rhabdomyolysis confirmed with a CK plasma level test. Findings described in the majority of the cases were muscle thickening, ground glass opacity, traits of edema and anechoic areas. Other than these, there were several less often reported findings. As a conclusion, rhabdomyolysis seems to have its own US appearance, but for now it cannot be precisely specified and needs further research for clarification.


ultrasonography; rhabdomyolysis; point-of-care

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