Rhabdomyolysis in children is a highly variable condition with presentations ranging from myalgias to more severe complications like acute renal failure. We sought to explore demographics and incidence of pediatric rhabdomyolysis hospitalizations and rates of associated renal failure, as our current understanding is limited.


This was a retrospective analysis using the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Kids’ Inpatient Database to identify children hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of rhabdomyolysis. Data were analyzed for demographic characteristics, as well as geographic and temporal trends. Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify characteristics associated with rhabdomyolysis-associated acute renal failure.


From 2006 to 2016, there were 8599 hospitalized children with a primary diagnosis of rhabdomyolysis. Overall, hospitalizations for pediatric rhabdomyolysis are increasing over time, with geographic peaks in the South and Northeast regions, and seasonal peaks in March and August. Though renal morbidity was diagnosed in 8.5% of children requiring hospitalization for rhabdomyolysis, very few of these patients required renal replacement therapy (0.41%), and death was rare (0.03%). Characteristics associated with renal failure included male sex, age greater than 15 years, and non-Hispanic Black race.


Though renal failure occurs at a significant rate in children hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis, severe complications, including death, are rare. The number of children hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis varies by geographic region and month of the year. Future studies are needed to explore etiologies of rhabdomyolysis and laboratory values that predict higher risk of morbidity and mortality in children with rhabdomyolysis.

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