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Palliat Support Care. 2015 Dec;13(6):1781-5. doi: 10.1017/S1478951514000935. Epub 2015 Apr 24.

Intensive symptom control of opioid-refractory dyspnea in congestive heart failure: Role of milrinone in the palliative care unit.

Author information

1
Department of Emergency Medicine,The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center,Houston,Texas.
2
Department of Palliative Care and Rehabilitation Medicine,The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center,Houston.Texas.
3
Department of Emergency Medicine and Department of Palliative Medicine,The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center,Houston,Texas.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

We describe an exemplary case of congestive heart failure (CHF) symptoms controlled with milrinone. We also analyze the benefits and risks of milrinone administration in an unmonitored setting.

METHOD:

We describe the case of a patient with refractory leukemia and end-stage CHF who developed severe dyspnea after discontinuation of milrinone. At that point, despite starting opioids, she had been severely dyspneic and anxious, requiring admission to the palliative care unit (PCU) for symptom control. After negotiation with hospital administrators, milrinone was administered in an unmonitored setting such as the PCU. A multidisciplinary team approach was also provided.

RESULTS:

Milrinone produced a dramatic improvement in the patient's symptom scores and performance status. The patient was eventually discharged to home hospice on a milrinone infusion with excellent symptom control.

SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS:

This case suggests that milrinone may be of benefit for short-term inpatient administration for dyspnea management, even in unmonitored settings and consequently during hospice in do-not-resuscitate (DNR) patients. This strategy may reduce costs and readmissions to the hospital related to end-stage CHF.

KEYWORDS:

Congestive heart failure; Milrinone; Opioid-refractory dyspnea; Palliative care

PMID:
25908519
DOI:
10.1017/S1478951514000935
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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