Exertional rhabdomyolysis leading to acute kidney injury: when genetic defects are diagnosed in adult life

David Cucchiari, Irene Colombo, Ottavia Amato, Manuel Alfredo Podestà, Francesco Reggiani, Rossella Valentino, Irene Faravelli, Silvia Testolin, Maurizio Moggio, Salvatore Badalamenti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rhabdomyolysis is a common cause of acute kidney injury (AKI) that is usually triggered by trauma. However, less common causes of rhabdomyolysis may precipitate AKI as well, possibly representing a diagnostic challenge even for the experienced nephrologist. Genetic defects of muscle metabolism represent one of these causes and can be overlooked in adults, since these diseases usually become apparent in childhood. We present here a case in which an adult patient with severe exertional rhabdomyolysis leading to AKI was finally diagnosed with a genetic defect of lipid metabolism. A 41-year-old patient was brought to our attention because of AKI and pigmenturia after strenuous physical effort. At admission, the patient was over-hydrated with a weight increase of 3 kg in few days. Laboratory examination showed creatinine of 8.7 mg/dl, along with increased myoglobin and CPK. Urinalysis was positive for haemoglobin and proteins, while urinary sediment analysis did not demonstrate any red blood cell but rather "muddy-brown" casts and tubular cells. Urine output was forced and the patient completely recovered renal function. Genetic analysis later demonstrated the presence of a common mutation of Carnitine Palmitoyl-Transferase II (CPTII). When facing rhabdomyolysis of obscure origin, nephrologists must keep in mind the possibility that even adult patients may have a genetic defect of energy metabolism. In these cases, patients usually experience rhabdomyolysis during exertion, fasting, or infection. CPTII deficiency often has a subtle presentation and might be unrecognized until AKI develops. Therefore, it is important to consider a genetic defect of muscle metabolism even in adult patients when a history of rhabdomyolysis of unclear origin is present.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-65
Number of pages4
JournalCEN Case Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Exertional rhabdomyolysis leading to acute kidney injury: when genetic defects are diagnosed in adult life'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this