rhab·​do·​my·​ol·​y·​sis ˌrab-dō-mī-ˈä-lə-səs How to pronounce rhabdomyolysis (audio)
: the destruction or degeneration of muscle tissue (as from traumatic injury, excessive exertion, or stroke) accompanied by the release of breakdown products into the bloodstream and sometimes leading to acute renal failure

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web McCormick was one of three UO players hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis following overly strenuous workouts in January 2017 and missed nearly all of the 2018-21 seasons due to a broken left ankle that required three surgeries and a torn right Achilles. oregonlive, 14 Dec. 2022 The Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association says the incidence of injuries and deaths related to exertional heat illness, exertional rhabdomyolysis, and cardiorespiratory failure has increased significantly in college athletes in recent years. Dallas News, 11 Jan. 2023 Earlier this year, lawmakers in Maryland passed a bill requiring athletic programs to implement precautions against heat stroke, brain injury and rhabdomyolysis after the 2018 death of 19-year-old University of Maryland football player Jordan McNair. Washington Post, 12 Aug. 2021 Ortiz backed out of the fight after suffering from rhabdomyolysis, a serious muscle condition that can cause permanent organ damage and can be life-threatening. Calvin Watkins, Dallas News, 12 Apr. 2023 The law also requires athletic departments at public colleges and universities to adopt guidelines to prevent and treat conditions that include brain injuries, heat illness and rhabdomyolysis, which is a breakdown of muscle tissue that can damage the kidneys. Pamela Wood, baltimoresun.com, 1 July 2021 In extreme cases—such as a pursuit like trying to hike down and back up the Grand Canyon in a day—the strain on untrained muscles can cause rhabdomyolysis (rhabdo), a serious medical condition in which damaged muscles release substances into the blood that can damage the heart and kidneys. Betsy Morris, WSJ, 19 June 2022 Credited with cutting cardiovascular deaths by one-third, the drugs have also been connected to rare problems such as rhabdomyolysis, in which the breakdown of muscle tissue releases a damaging protein into the blood, in 1 out of 10,000 people who take them. Elizabeth Cooney, STAT, 28 Feb. 2021 The letter said that multiple student-athletes were diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis. Dallas News, 1 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'rhabdomyolysis.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


rhabdo- + myo- + -lysis

Note: The term was introduced by Drummond H. Bowden et al., "Acute recurrent rhabdomyolysis (paroxysmal myohaemoglobinuria)," Medicine, vol. 35, issue 4 (December, 1956), pp. 335-54.

First Known Use

1956, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of rhabdomyolysis was in 1956

Dictionary Entries Near rhabdomyolysis

Cite this Entry

“Rhabdomyolysis.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rhabdomyolysis. Accessed 5 Jun. 2023.

Medical Definition


rhab·​do·​my·​ol·​y·​sis ˌrab-dō-mī-ˈäl-ə-səs How to pronounce rhabdomyolysis (audio)
plural rhabdomyolyses -ˌsēz How to pronounce rhabdomyolysis (audio)
: the destruction or degeneration of skeletal muscle tissue (as from traumatic injury, excessive exertion, or stroke) that is accompanied by the release of muscle cell contents (as myoglobin and potassium) into the bloodstream resulting in hypovolemia, hyperkalemia, and sometimes acute renal failure
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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