Review article: lack of effect of opiates in the treatment of acute cardiogenic pulmonary oedema.
Emerg Med Australas. 2008 Oct;20(5):384-90
Authors: Sosnowski MA
Opiates have traditionally been used as one of the main treatments of acute heart failure and are still recognized as such. Most current textbooks and official guidelines advise the use of morphine as one of the first-line treatments for patients in acute cardiogenic pulmonary oedema and a majority of physicians accept it to be the case. The author performed an extensive literature search in order to validate the evidence for the use of opiates in this condition. A total of seven papers, six in English and one in Polish, were found that directly investigated or reported the clinically important outcomes of treatment of acute pulmonary oedema. Only five of these dealt specifically with the effects of administration of opiates in acute cardiogenic pulmonary oedema. None of the above publications suggested a clinically significant improvement in outcomes of patients treated with morphine, although early research did suggest reduced anxiety, blood pressure and pulse rate as well as a reduction in arterial oxygen contents. The more recent studies suggest a strong association between increased mortality and morbidity (e.g. intensive care unit admissions or intubation rates), although causality is difficult to establish because of research methodologies. The current evidence does not support the routine use of opiates in the treatment of acute pulmonary oedema.
PMID: 18973635 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]