Besides the usual causes of rhabdomyolysis such as trauma, drugs, alcohol, sepsis, etc…, cirrhotic patients may also have what some have called “hepatic myopathy”.
One study involving 99 patients with cirrhosis and myopathy (all with elevated serum myoglobin) found “infections” as the most common cause (47%), followed by “idiopathic” (27%) sources as well as ETOH, herbal medicine, and trauma-related causes (<10% each) (1). Whether this is truly an entity or just a non-causal association is unclear.
Another study reported that ~60% of rhabdomyolysis cases in cirrhosis had no apparent cause (2), with mortality among patient with cirrhosis and rhabdomyolysis significantly higher than that of controls without cirrhosis (27.5% vs 14.5%).
So perhaps we should lower our threshold for checking serum CK in our patients with cirrhosis and weakness.
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1. Lee O-J, Yoon J-H, Lee E-J, et al. Acute myopathy associated with liver cirrhosis. World J Gastroenterol 2006;12:2254-2258. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16610032 .
2. Baek JE, Park DJ, Kim HJ, et al. The clinical characteristics of rhabdomyolysis in patients with liver cirrhosis. J Clin Gastroenterol 2007;41:317-21.