Lumbar muscle rhabdomyolysis has been very rarely reported after surgery.The aim of this study was to determine its incidence and main characteristics in a large population undergoing abdominal aortic surgery. Over a 21-mo period, 224 consecutive patients, 209 male and 15 female, mean age 65 +/- 10 yr, underwent abdominal aortic surgery (aortic aneurysm in 142 patients and occlusive aortic degenerative disease in 82 patients). Surgical incision was a midline incision with exaggerated hyperlordosis in 173 patients and a flank incision with a retroperitoneal approach in 51 patients. Postoperative rhabdomyolysis was diagnosed in 20 patients. In these patients, 9 (4%) experienced severe low back pain, and lumbar muscle rhabdomyolysis was confirmed by tomodensitometry (n = 6) or muscle biopsy (n = 3). The remaining 11 patients had lower limb muscle rhabdomyolysis. Rhabdomyolysis occurred after surgery of longer duration, which involved more frequent visceral artery reimplantation, with longer duration of aortic clamping and greater intraoperative bleeding. Lumbar rhabdomyolysis occurred in younger patients who were more frequently obese. On first postoperative day, the mean creatine kinase (CK) value was greater in lumbar rhabdomyolysis than in lower limb rhabdomyolysis (17,082 +/- 15,003 vs 3,313 +/- 3,120 IU/L, P < 0.05). Acute renal failure and postoperative death did not occur in patients with lumbar muscle rhabdomyolysis. Lumbar rhabdomyolysis was not a rare event after abdominal aortic surgery (4%). This syndrome was characterized by postoperative low back pain of unusual severity, which required analgesic therapy, and induced a very high increase in CK with typical findings at tomodensitometry or muscle biopsy but was not associated with postoperative renal failure.
(Anesth Analg 1997;85:11-5)
Departments of (Bertrand, Godet, Fleron, Riou, Coriat) Anesthesiology and Critical Care, (Bernard) Biochemistry, (Orcel) Rheumatology, and (Kieffer) Vascular Surgery, Groupe Hospitalier Pitie-Salpetriere, Paris VI University, Paris, France.
Accepted for publication March 27, 1997.
Address correspondence to Dr. Gilles Godet, Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, Groupe Hospitalier Pitie-Salpetriere, Paris VI University, 75013 Paris, France.