Diuretic Strategies in Acute Decompensated Heart Failure: A Narrative Review

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Can J Hosp Pharm. 2024 Jan 10;77(1):e3323. doi: 10.4212/cjhp.3323. eCollection 2024.


BACKGROUND: Heart failure is a common condition with considerable associated costs, morbidity, and mortality. Patients often present to hospital with dyspnea and edema. Inadequate inpatient decongestion is an important contributor to high readmission rates. There is little evidence concerning diuresis to guide clinicians in caring for patients with acute decompensated heart failure. Contemporary diuretic strategies have been defined by expert opinion and older landmark clinical trials.

OBJECTIVE: To present a narrative review of contemporary recommendations, along with their underlying evidence and pharmacologic rationale, for diuretic strategies in inpatients with acute decompensated heart failure.

DATA SOURCES: PubMed, OVID, and Embase databases were searched from inception to December 22, 2022, with the following search terms: heart failure, acute heart failure, decompensated heart failure, furosemide, bumetanide, ethacrynic acid, hydrochlorothiazide, indapamide, metolazone, chlorthalidone, spironolactone, eplerenone, and acetazolamide.

STUDY SELECTION: Randomized controlled trials and systematic reviews involving at least 100 adult patients (> 18 years) were included. Trials involving torsemide, chlorothiazide, and tolvaptan were excluded.

DATA SYNTHESIS: Early, aggressive administration of a loop diuretic has been associated with expedited symptom resolution, shorter length of stay, and possibly reduced mortality. Guidelines make recommendations about dose and frequency but do not recommend any particular loop diuretic over another; however, furosemide is most commonly used. Guidelines recommend that the initial furosemide dose (on admission) be 2-2.5 times the patient's home dose. A satisfactory diuretic response can be defined as spot urine sodium content greater than 50-70 mmol/L at 2 hours; urine output greater than 100-150 mL/h in the first 6 hours or 3-5 L in 24 hours; or a change in weight of 0.5-1.5 kg in 24 hours. If congestion persists after the maximization of loop diuretic therapy over the first 24-48 hours, an adjunctive diuretic such as thiazide or acetazolamide should be added. If decongestion targets are not met, continuous infusion of furosemide may be considered.

CONCLUSIONS: Heart failure with congestion can be managed with careful administration of high-dose loop diuretics, supported by thiazides and acetazolamide when necessary. Clinical trials are underway to further evaluate this strategy.

PMID:38204501 | PMC:PMC10754413 | DOI:10.4212/cjhp.3323

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