Hyperbaric oxygen as an adjunctive therapy for bilateral compartment syndrome, rhabdomyolysis and acute renal failure after heroin intake

Arch Med Res. 2006 May;37(4):559-62. doi: 10.1016/j.arcmed.2005.07.013.


Heroin abuse causes various medical and surgical complications. We report a case of heroin-induced severe bilateral compartment syndrome complicated by rhabdomyolysis, acute renal failure and extremely elevated creatinine kinase. A 30-year-old male heroin addict presented to the emergency department of Mount Vernon Hospital, Mount Vernon, New York complaining of severe pain and burning sensation in both legs and feet 1 day after abusing intravenous heroin. He had severe swelling and tenderness of both legs and feet. Laboratory data revealed tremendous elevation of creatine kinase (236,000 IU/L) consistent with rhabdomyolysis. Acute renal failure developed over subsequent days. Treatment consisted of fasciotomy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO2) and supportive therapy. The condition gradually improved over 4 weeks and the patient did not require dialysis or amputation.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / blood
  • Acute Kidney Injury / complications
  • Acute Kidney Injury / therapy*
  • Adult
  • Compartment Syndromes / blood
  • Compartment Syndromes / complications
  • Compartment Syndromes / therapy*
  • Heroin / poisoning*
  • Humans
  • Hyperbaric Oxygenation
  • Male
  • Rhabdomyolysis / blood
  • Rhabdomyolysis / complications
  • Rhabdomyolysis / therapy*


  • Heroin