A Canadian multicentre study of a 48 h infusion of milrinone in patients with severe heart failure. Academic Article uri icon

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  • Milrinone is a nonglycoside, nonsympathomimetic bipyridine with positive inotropic and systemic vasodilator properties. In order to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a short term infusion of milrinone, 105 patients with stable New York Heart Association (NYHA) class III or IV heart failure received a loading dose (50 micrograms/kg) and a 48 h continuous infusion (0.5 micrograms/kg/min). Administration of the loading dose resulted in a 28% decrease in pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (PCWP) (P less than 0.001), a 38% increase in cardiac index (P less than 0.001), and a 34% increase in stroke volume index (P less than 0.001) within 15 mins. Milrinone infusion maintained an average 27% and 24% reduction in PCWP during the first and second days, respectively (P less than 0.001). Cardiac index was 32% and 34% above baseline during the same intervals (P less than 0.001). There were no clinically significant changes in heart rate or mean arterial blood pressure during the study period. In a subset of 47 patients who underwent Holter monitoring before and during infusion, a significant increase in ventricular arrhythmias (premature ventricular complexes per hour, ventricular couplets per hour and ventricular runs greater than or equal to three) was demonstrated (P less than 0.0001). In general, milrinone was well tolerated. Of the 105 patients entered, one died of an acute myocardial infarction after premature termination of the infusion, and the infusion rate was decreased in two others because of supraventricular arrhythmias. In patients with severe heart failure, intravenous milrinone has significant beneficial hemodynamic effects. ECG monitoring for arrhythmias is recommended during milrinone infusion.


  • Pflugfelder, PW
  • O'Neill, BJ
  • Ogilvie, RI
  • Beanlands, DS
  • Tanser, Paul
  • Tihal, H
  • Mizgala, HF
  • Fitchett, DH
  • Kostuk, WJ

publication date

  • January 1991