Low-dose morphine reduces tolerance to central hypovolemia in healthy adults without affecting muscle sympathetic outflow

Joseph C. Watso, Luke N. Belval, Frank A. Cimino, Bonnie D. Orth, Joseph M. Hendrix, Mu Huang, Elias Johnson, Josh Foster, Carmen Hinojosa-Laborde, Craig G. Crandall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Hemorrhage is a leading cause of preventable battlefield and civilian trauma deaths. Low-dose (i.e., an analgesic dose) morphine is recommended for use in the prehospital (i.e., field) setting. Morphine administration reduces hemorrhagic tolerance in rodents. However, it is unknown whether morphine impairs autonomic cardiovascular regulation and consequently reduces hemorrhagic tolerance in humans. Thus, the purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that low-dose morphine reduces hemorrhagic tolerance in conscious humans. Thirty adults (15 women/15 men; 29 ± 6 yr; 26 ± 4 kg·m-2, means ± SD) completed this randomized, crossover, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. One minute after intravenous administration of morphine (5 mg) or placebo (saline), we used a presyncopal limited progressive lower-body negative pressure (LBNP) protocol to determine hemorrhagic tolerance. Hemorrhagic tolerance was quantified as a cumulative stress index (mmHg·min), which was compared between trials using a Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed-rank test. We also compared muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA; microneurography) and beat-to-beat blood pressure (photoplethysmography) during the LBNP test using mixed-effects analyses [time (LBNP stage) × trial]. Median LBNP tolerance was lower during morphine trials (placebo: 692 [473-997] vs. morphine: 385 [251-728] mmHg·min, P < 0.001, CI: -394 to -128). Systolic blood pressure was 8 mmHg lower during moderate central hypovolemia during morphine trials (post hoc P = 0.02; time: P < 0.001, trial: P = 0.13, interaction: P = 0.006). MSNA burst frequency responses were not different between trials (time: P < 0.001, trial: P = 0.80, interaction: P = 0.51). These data demonstrate that low-dose morphine reduces hemorrhagic tolerance in conscious humans. Thus, morphine is not an ideal analgesic for a hemorrhaging individual in the prehospital setting.NEW & NOTEWORTHY In this randomized, crossover, placebo-controlled trial, we found that tolerance to simulated hemorrhage was lower after low-dose morphine administration. Such reductions in hemorrhagic tolerance were observed without differences in MSNA burst frequency responses between morphine and placebo trials. These data, the first to be obtained in conscious humans, demonstrate that low-dose morphine reduces hemorrhagic tolerance. Thus, morphine is not an ideal analgesic for a hemorrhaging individual in the prehospital setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H89-H99
JournalAmerican journal of physiology. Heart and circulatory physiology
Volume323
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022

Keywords

  • blood loss
  • cerebral tissue oxygenation
  • opioids
  • respiration
  • sympathoexcitatory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

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