Background: Intravenous morphine use has been reported in nearly one of seven patients hospitalized with acute decompensated heart failure (ADHF). I have anecdotally, even seen physicians giving morphine as a “first-line” agent: Nitroglycerine, Non-Invasive Positive Pressure Ventilation (NIPPV), and Morphine. There is surprisingly little evidence supporting routine use of morphine in ADHF, and no major American cardiology or emergency medicine society has really endorsed or published any recommendations on the treatment of ADHF with morphine.
Most of us were taught the acronym “MONA,” Morphine, Oxygen, Nitroglycerin, and Aspirin for treatment of acute pulmonary edema and commonly, quoted physiologic/clinical beliefs for the use of morphine in ADHF are: beneficial hemodynamic effects, managing anxiety/agitation in air hunger, reduction in preload, and maybe to a lesser extent, afterload, and finally, decreasing heart rate. We should also consider the use of morphine in a framework of risk and benefit. For example intravenous morphine can also have some deleterious effects like causing central nervous system suppression, ventilatory depression, and hypotension.
The Acute Decompensated Heart Failure National Registry (ADHERE) is a large multicenter registry that records data from patients hospitalized with ADHF with more than 175,000 hospitalizations from over 250 hospitals across America. To be included in this registry patients must be >18years of age, admitted to an acute care hospital and receive a discharge diagnosis of ADHF. Data for this registry are collected by retrospective chart review and entered via an electronic web-based case report form for all consecutive eligible patients. Read more →