IMR Press / RCM / Volume 22 / Issue 3 / DOI: 10.31083/j.rcm2203092
Open Access Systematic Review

Intravenous morphine use in acute heart failure increases adverse outcomes: a meta-analysis

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1 Department of Cardiology, Shenzhen Cardiovascular Minimally Invasive Medical Engineering Technology Research and Development Center, 518020 Shenzhen, Guangdong, China
2 Shenzhen People’s Hospital (The Second Clinical Medical College, Jinan University; The First Affiliated Hospital, Southern University of Science and Technology), 518020 Shenzhen, Guangdong, China
3 School of Pharmacy, Guangdong Medical University, 523808 Dongguan, Guangdong, China
4 Department of Pharmacy, Shenzhen People’s Hospital, 518020 Shenzhen, Guangdong, China

Academic Editor: Takatoshi Kasai
This article belongs to the Special Issue: State-of-the-Art Cardiovascular Medicine in Asia 2021 (

Rev. Cardiovasc. Med. 2021 , 22(3), 865–872;
Submitted: 7 June 2021 | Revised: 22 July 2021 | Accepted: 4 August 2021 | Published: 24 September 2021
Copyright: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by IMR Press.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license (

Intravenous morphine is a controversial treatment for acute heart failure (AHF). This study aimed to evaluate and compare the efficacy of intravenous morphine treatment vs. no morphine treatment in AHF patients. Relevant research conducted before June 2020 was retrieved from electronic databases. One unpublished study of our own was also included. Studies were eligible for inclusion if they compared AHF patients treated with intravenous morphine and patients who did not receive morphine. This meta-analysis included three propensity-matched cohorts and two retrospective analyses, involving a total of 149,967 patients (intravenous-morphine group, n = 22,072; no-morphine group, n = 127,895). There was a non-significant increase in the in-hospital mortality in the morphine group (combined odds ratio [OR] = 2.14, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.88–5.23, p = 0.095, I2 = 97.1%). However, subgroup analyse showed that the rate of in-hospital mortality with odds of 1.41 times more likely (95% CI: 1.11–1.80, p = 0.005, I2 = 0%) in those receiving vs. not receiving intravenous morphine. No significant correlation was found between intravenous morphine and invasive mechanical ventilation (OR = 2.19, 95% CI: 0.84–5.73, p = 0.10, I2 = 94.2%; subgroup analysis: OR = 2.24, 95% CI: 0.70–7.21, p = 0.176, I2 = 95.1%) or long-term mortality (hazard ratio = 1.15, 95% CI: 0.96–1.34, p = 0.335; I2 = 8.6%). The administration of intravenous morphine to patients with AHF may be related to in-hospital mortality, but not to invasive mechanical ventilation and long-term mortality.

Intravenous morphine
Acute heart failure
In-hospital mortality
Mechanical ventilation
Long-term mortality
Fig. 1.
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