Rhabdomyolysis is caused by muscle breakdown resulting in the release of myoglobin into the systemic circulation. Acute renal failure results from the nephrotoxicity of myoglobin. Heroin use is one of the causes of rhabdomyolysis and acute renal failure. Aim: The aim of this literature review was highlight the importance of early recognition and treatment by a nurse of acute renal failure from rhabdomyolysis after heroin. Method: The method followed in this review was based on retrospective studies and research, conducted during the period 2000-2012 and retracted from the international databases Medline, Pubmed, Cinahl and the Greek database Iatrotek on acute renal failure from rhabdomyolysis after heroin use. Key-words were used: acute renal failure, rhabdomyolysis, heroin, international guidelines, based-evidence nursing care. Results: The clinical presentation occurs with muscle pain, muscle weakness, and brown-redish urine. High values of CPK and myoglobin make the diagnosis. Toxicology tests confirm heroin use. For the treatment is required naloxone administration, the rapid hydration of the patient, alkalinization of urine, good diuresis, regulation of electrolyte disturbances and dialysis if necessary. Conclusions: Early recognition and treatment of acute renal failure from rhabdomyolysis after heroin use is vital for the survival of the patient. It is necessary to educate nurses on specific issues such as acute renal failure from rhabdomyolysis after heroin use and the implementation of protocols for the treatment and cure.
Keywords: Acute renal failure, rhabdomyolysis, heroin, international guidelines, evidence – based nursing care