The benefits of using morphine for relief of breathlessness in heart failure

Morphine for the relief of breathlessness in stable chronic heart failure

Miriam Johnson (lead researcher)

Hull, University of

Start date: 01 November 2014 (Duration 3 years, 6 months)

Heart failure is a condition where the heart cannot pump blood around the body effectively. Heart failure patients suffer fatigue and shortness of breath. In severe cases the condition can leave patients gasping for breath, and with a life expectancy of less than five years. There are over 750,000 people in the UK suffering from heart failure.

Current treatments to help relieve breathlessness in heart failure patients are not effective. Evidence shows that morphine can help breathlessness in patients with other conditions. Professor Miriam Johnson and team based at University of Hull have been awarded £655,000 to carry out a four year study to find out if morphine can offer any benefit to patients with heart failure.

Their study will recruit 346 participants with heart failure. They will randomly be assigned either morphine or a dummy (placebo) treatment for three months. Neither the investigators nor the participants will know who has been allocated what treatment option, helping to improve the quality of the study.

The group will monitor the participants for up to three months. They will look at how breathless they are on average over a 24-hour period as judged by the patient on a scale of 0 (none) to 10 (worst imaginable). They will also ask the patients to describe their breathlessness - in terms of unpleasantness, change in symptoms, pain, fatigue, quality of life, walking activity, and any side effects of treatment. The results will be invaluable in determining if the benefits of using morphine for relief of breathlessness in heart failure patients outweigh its side effects.

Project details

Grant amount £655,288
Grant type Clinical Study
Start Date 01 November 2014
Duration 3 years, 6 months
Reference CS/13/2/30584
Status In progress

< back to search results