BACKGROUND: Experimental studies suggest that morphine may protect the myocardium against ischemia-reperfusion injury by activating salvage kinase pathways. The objective of this two-center, randomized, double-blind, controlled trial was to assess potential cardioprotective effects of intra-coronary morphine in patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) referred for primary percutaneous intervention.
METHODS: Ninety-one patients with STEMI were randomly assigned to intracoronary morphine (1 mg) or placebo at reperfusion of the culprit coronary artery. The primary endpoint was infarct size/left ventricular mass ratio assessed by magnetic resonance imaging on day 3-5. Secondary endpoints included the areas under the curve (AUC) for troponin T and creatine kinase over three days, left ventricular ejection fraction assessed by echocardiography on days 1 and 6, and clinical outcomes.
RESULTS: Infarct size/left ventricular mass ratio was not significantly reduced by intracoronary morphine compared to placebo (27.2% ± 15.0% vs. 30.5% ± 10.6%, respectively, p = 0.28). Troponin T and creatine kinase AUCs were similar in the two groups. Morphine did not improve left ventricular ejection fraction on day 1 (49.7 ± 10.3% vs. 49.3 ± 9.3% with placebo, p = 0.84) or day 6 (48.5 ± 10.2% vs. 49.0 ± 8.5% with placebo, p = 0.86). The number of major adverse cardiac events, including stent thrombosis, during the one-year follow-up was similar in the two groups.
CONCLUSIONS: Intracoronary morphine at reperfusion did not significantly reduce infarct size or improve left ventricular systolic function in patients with STEMI. Presence of comorbidities in some patients may contribute to explain these results.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01186445 (date of registration: August 23, 2010).