Traumatic rhabdomyolysis (RM) is common and contributes to the development of medical complications, of which acute renal failure is the best described. Some authors have described an association between elevated aminotransferases and RM, suggesting the possibility of associated liver damage. Our study aims to evaluate the relationship between liver function and RM in hemorrhagic trauma patients.
This is a retrospective observational study conducted in a level 1 trauma center analyzing 272 severely injured patients transfused within 24 hours and admitted to intensive care unit (ICU) from January 2015 to June 2021. Patients with significant direct liver injury (abdominal Abbreviated Injury Score [AIS] >3) were excluded. Clinical and laboratory data were reviewed, and groups were stratified according to the presence of intense RM (creatine kinase [CK] >5000 U/L). Liver failure was defined by a prothrombin time (PT)-ratio <50% and an alanine transferase (ALT) >500 U/L simultaneously. Correlation analysis was performed using Pearson’s or Spearman’s coefficient depending on the distribution after log transformation to evaluate the association between serum CK and biological markers of hepatic function. Risk factors for the development of liver failure were defined with a stepwise logistic regression analysis of all relevant explanatory factors significantly associated with the bivariate analysis.
RM (CK >1000 U/L) was highly prevalent in the global cohort (58.1%), and 55 (23.2%) patients presented with intense RM. We found a significant positive correlation between RM biomarkers (CK and myoglobin) and liver biomarkers (aspartate transferase [AST], ALT, and bilirubin). Log-CK was positively correlated with log-AST (r = 0.625, P < .001) and log-ALT (r = 0.507, P < .001) and minimally with log-bilirubin (r = 0.262, P < .001). Intensive care unit stays were longer for intense RM patients (7 [4–18] days vs 4 [2–11] days, P < .001). These patients required increased renal replacement therapy use (4.1% vs 20.0%, P < .001) and transfusion requirements. Liver failure was more common (4.6% vs 18.2%, P < .001) for intense RM patients. It was associated with bivariate and multivariable analysis with intense RM (odds ratio [OR], 4.51 [1.11–19.2]; P = .034), need for renal replacement therapy, and Sepsis-Related Organ Failure Assessment Score (SOFA) score on day 1.
Our study established the presence of an association between trauma-related RM and classical hepatic biomarkers. Liver failure was associated with the presence of intense RM in bivariate and multivariable analysis. Traumatic RM could have a role in the development of other system failures, specifically at the hepatic level, in addition to the already known and well-described renal failure.