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Morphine-based cardiac anesthesia provides superior early recovery compared with fentanyl in elective cardiac surgery patients.

Author(s): Murphy GS, Szokol JW, Marymont JH, Greenberg SB, Avram MJ, Vender JS, Sherwani SS, Nisman M, Doroski V.

Affiliation(s): Department of Anesthesiology, NorthShore University HealthSystem, Evanston, Illinois 60201, USA. dgmurphy2@yahoo.co

Publication date & source: 2009, Anesth Analg. , 109(2):311-9

BACKGROUND: Experimental and clinical data suggest that morphine possesses unique cardioprotective and antiinflammatory properties. In this clinical investigation, we sought to determine whether the choice of intraoperative opioid (morphine or fentanyl) influences early recovery after cardiac surgery. METHODS: Ninety patients undergoing cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass were randomized to receive either morphine (40 mg) or fentanyl (600 mug) as part of a standardized opioid-isoflurane anesthetic. Quality of recovery was assessed using the QoR-40 questionnaire administered preoperatively and daily on postoperative days 1-3. During the first three postoperative days, pain was measured using a 100-mm visual analog scale, and the use of IV and oral pain medications (morphine or acetaminophen/hydrocodone) was quantified. Hemodynamic variables, duration of tracheal intubation, postoperative febrile reactions, organ morbidities, and intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital length of stay were evaluated. RESULTS: Compared with patients given fentanyl, those receiving morphine had higher global QoR-40 scores on postoperative days 1 (173 vs 160, P < 0.0001), 2 (174 vs 164, P < 0.0001), and 3 (177 vs 167, P < 0.001). Differences between the groups were observed in the QoR-40 dimensions of emotional state, physical comfort, and pain (all P < 0.01-0.0001). Postoperative visual analog scale pain scores, use of pain medication in the ICU and surgical ward, and postoperative febrile reactions were reduced significantly in the morphine group (all P < 0.01). No differences between the groups were noted in duration of tracheal intubation, ICU and hospital length of stay, or postoperative complications. CONCLUSIONS: In patients undergoing elective cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass, postoperative quality-of-life measures and pain control during recovery were enhanced when morphine (40 mg) was administered intraoperatively as part of a balanced anesthetic technique compared with fentanyl.

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