March 11, 2011

Heart Patients: No Need for Continuous Diuretics?

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- A new study shows there are no significant differences in how heart failure patients fare when they're given diuretic therapy in one dose or continuously.

For the study, more than 300 patients with acute heart failure received furosemide (Lasix), which is the most commonly-used diuretic for heart failure. They were randomly assigned to receive the drug intravenously by a bolus every 12 hours or by a continuous infusion. Both groups received high and low doses.

Results showed symptoms and measures of kidney function were about the same in each group after 72 hours.

Continuous infusion is more expensive, and it's typically more uncomfortable for patients because it hinders their ability to walk around.

The researchers concluded: "Among patients with acute decompensated heart failure, there were no significant differences in patients' global assessment of symptoms or in the change in renal function when diuretic therapy was administered by bolus as compared with continuous infusion or at a high dose as compared with a low dose."

SOURCE: The New England Journal of Medicine, March, 2011