Impact of morphine treatment on infarct size and reperfusion injury in acute reperfused st-elevation myocardial infarction

Ingo Eitel*, Juan Wang, Thomas Stiermaier, Georg Fuernau, Hans Josef Feistritzer, Alexander Joost, Alexander Jobs, Moritz Meusel, Christian Blodau, Steffen Desch, Suzanne de Waha-Thiele, Harald Langer, Holger Thiele

*Corresponding author for this work
11 Citations (Scopus)


Current evidence regarding the effect of intravenous morphine administration on reperfusion injury and/or cardioprotection in patients with myocardial infarction is conflicting. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of morphine administration, on infarct size and reperfusion injury assessed by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) in a large multicenter ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) population. In total, 734 STEMI patients reperfused by primary percutaneous coronary intervention <12 h after symptom onset underwent CMR imaging at eight centers for assessment of myocardial damage. Intravenous morphine administration was recorded in all patients. CMR was completed within one week after infarction using a standardized protocol. The clinical endpoint of the study was the occurrence of major adverse cardiac events (MACE) within 12 months after infarction. Intravenous morphine was administered in 61.8% (n = 454) of all patients. There were no differences in infarct size (17%LV, interquartile range [IQR] 8–25%LV versus 16%LV, IQR 8–26%LV, p = 0.67) and microvascular obstruction (p = 0.92) in patients with versus without morphine administration. In the subgroup of patients with early reperfusion within 120 min and reduced flow of the infarcted vessel (TIMI-flow ≤2 before PCI) morphine administration resulted in significantly smaller infarcts (12%LV, IQR 12–19 versus 19%LV, IQR 10–29, p = 0.035) and reduced microvascular obstruction (p = 0.003). Morphine administration had no effect on hard clinical endpoints (log-rank test p = 0.74) and was not an independent predictor of clinical outcome in Cox regression analysis. In our large multicenter CMR study, morphine administration did not have a negative effect on myocardial damage or clinical prognosis in acute reperfused STEMI. In patients, presenting early (≤120 min) morphine may have a cardioprotective effect as reflected by smaller infarcts; but this finding has to be assessed in further well-designed clinical studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number735
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 03.2020

Research Areas and Centers

  • Centers: Cardiological Center Luebeck (UHZL)

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 205-12 Cardiology, Angiology

Cite this