Safety of Outpatient Milrinone Infusion in End-Stage Heart Failure: ICD-Level Data on Atrial Fibrillation and Ventricular Tachyarrhythmias

Ahmed A. Harhash, James Cassuto, Ahmed Hussein, Emmanuel Achu, Mark J. Zucker, Marc Goldschmidt, Joseph S. Alpert, David A. Baran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Milrinone infusion is one of a few select “non-device” therapies for patients with New York Heart Association (NYHA) class IV, stage D heart failure, which has been associated with an increase in ventricular tachyarrhythmia and atrial fibrillation. Milrinone improves hemodynamics and provides symptomatic relief. Many patients with end-stage heart failure die from cardiac pump failure, and the impact of ventricular tachyarrhythmia and atrial fibrillation on their mortality is unclear. METHODS: This is a retrospective study of 98 consecutive patients receiving outpatient milrinone in a single center from 2008 to 2016. The primary endpoint of the study was overall survival on milrinone. Secondary endpoints were incidence of post-milrinone implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) shocks and development of ventricular tachyarrhythmia or atrial fibrillation. RESULTS: Median survival was 581 ± 96 days with no difference between those with prior ventricular tachyarrhythmia and those without at 1 month (92% vs 97%, P = 0.34), 6 months (67% vs 73%, P = 0.75), and 12 months (67% vs 61%, P = 0.88). Seven out of 12 (58%) patients with prior ventricular tachyarrhythmia had ICD shocks, as compared to 5 out of 78 (6.4%) (P <0.001). Thirty-five patients had atrial fibrillation prior to starting milrinone, which decreased to 72% (P <0.05) by the third follow-up time period (7-9 months). Amiodarone use was protective against new onset atrial fibrillation. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with stage D heart failure with a history of ventricular tachyarrhythmia have similar survival on outpatient milrinone compared to those without. However, those with prior ventricular tachyarrhythmia received more ICD shocks for more ventricular tachyarrhythmias. Milrinone remains a viable therapy for patients with stage D heart failure with limited therapeutic options.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)857-864
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2020


  • Atrial fibrillation
  • End-Stage heart failure
  • Intravenous milrinone
  • Ventricular tachyarrhythmia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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