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The evaluation of rhabdomyolysis begins with the history and physical examination of the patient. The health care practitioner will assess the underlying potential causes for muscle breakdown. Sometimes it is obvious; the patient is a trauma victim. Sometimes it will require detailed information gathering about the patient such as any underlying medical conditions and medication history.
The physical examination will not only focus on muscle injury but also on the potential complications of kidney failure and hyperkalemia with associated heart rhythm disturbances.
Blood tests may include a complete blood count and clotting profile, electrolytes, kidney function (BUN and creatinine), and creatine phosphokinase (CPK), a chemical found in muscle that is also released into the blood stream with muscle damage. Markedly elevated levels of CPK in the appropriate clinical setting confirms the diagnosis.
Urinalysis may be helpful. Myoglobin can be presumed to be present in the urine if the chemical test for blood in the urine is positive but no red blood cells are seen on microscopic examination.
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