Profound circulatory shock following heroin overdose

Resuscitation. 1998 Jul;38(1):51-3. doi: 10.1016/s0300-9572(98)00065-3.


A 17-year-old previously healthy girl with profound circulatory shock following a heroin overdose is reported. Except for opiates no other substances and specifically no cocaine were found in the blood and urine samples. Even though the mechanism of shock is not completely understood, severe depression of left ventricular contractility seems to be the predominant reason. Acute right heart failure with decreased pulmonary capillary wedge pressure and arterial vasodilatation resulting in maldistribution of cardiac output cannot be ruled out as possible contributing factors. The shock was successfully reversed with volume loading and a high dose of dobutamine. The recovery was uneventful and the patient was discharged with normal cardiac function.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Drug Overdose / diagnosis
  • Drug Overdose / etiology
  • Drug Overdose / therapy
  • Emergencies
  • Female
  • Heroin / poisoning*
  • Heroin Dependence / complications*
  • Humans
  • Shock / diagnosis
  • Shock / etiology*
  • Shock / therapy


  • Heroin