Being prepared to know what to do in a medical emergency is crucial. Below are some potential complications to be aware of. Always be sure to contact the neuromuscular specialist whenever there is a serious injury or illness.

Adrenal Insufficiency

For those individuals taking steroids, it is critical to know information about adrenal insufficiency, stress dosing of steroids, and the importance of not missing a steroid dose. A stress dose may be necessary to account for physiologic stress that could occur during times of illness, surgery, or other serious trauma. It is vital to not miss a steroid dose for more than 24 hours as that can lead to adrenal insufficiency. In adrenal insufficiency, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis becomes suppressed. It is a rare, but life-threatening condition that happens when an individual is taking glucocorticoids and suddenly stops taking them.

Fat Embolism Syndrome

Fat Embolism Syndrome (FES) is a rare, but serious complication following a fall or fracture to the lower extremities. It occurs when fat particles enter the bloodstream. The traveling embolism causes a decrease in oxygenation to the brain and/or heart. That can lead to symptoms of confusion and disorientation, elevated heart rate, and trouble breathing. There is a considerable risk of mortality associated with this condition, so it is imperative to go to the nearest emergency department for assessment.


The drug succinylcholine (suxamethonium) is an aesthetic that causes muscle relaxation. This medication should never be used with a Duchenne patient due to increases in potassium levels in the blood that could lead to respiratory failure and be life-threatening. It is imperative when surgery is needed to consult a pulmonologist and cardiologist to make sure the aesthetic is safe in Duchenne


Rhabdomyolysis is another complication where substantial amounts of muscle fibres are broken down and then released into the bloodstream. It can be exhibited by dark urine resembling the colour of cola. This is a life-threatening condition that can lead to kidney failure, so it is vital to go to the nearest emergency department. Rhabdomyolysis can happen from excessive physical activity, dehydration, or exposure to inhalant anaesthesia like succinylcholine.

Supplemental Oxygen

Due to weakened respiratory muscles, giving oxygen can become a concern if not done appropriately. Close monitoring of carbon dioxide (CO2) levels is needed


Hypercalcaemia is most often caused by over activity in the four tiny glands in the neck (parathyroid glands) or from cancer. Extra calcium in the blood affects many bodily systems. Symptoms of hypercalcaemia range from mild to severe. They may include increased thirst and urination, stomach pain, nausea, bone pain, muscle weakness, confusion and fatigue. Treatment may include drugs or surgical removal of an overactive gland.