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Eur J Intern Med. 2011 Aug;22(4):424-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ejim.2011.04.008. Epub 2011 May 31.

Appropriateness and complications of the use of spironolactone in patients treated in a heart failure clinic.

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  • 1Heart Failure clinic, Heart Institute, and Department of Internal Medicine, Kaplan Medical Center, Rehovot, Israel. sorelgoland@yahoo.com

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

The widespread use of spironolactone in patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) has resulted in side effects and complications. We analyzed a cohort of patients treated by a dedicated CHF team, in order to examine the tolerability and safety of spironolactone in clinical practice.

METHODS:

We retrospectively evaluated data on 157 patients who were followed by the Heart Failure clinic of whom 100 patients on maximal treatment (all on β blockers, 99% on ACE inhibitors) received spironolactone. The complications following spironolactone use were defined as: hyperkalemia with serum K 5.2 mEq/l; creatinine 2.0 mg/dl; hyponatremia with serum Na 135 mEq/l, hypotension and side effects such as gynecomastia and abdominal pain.

RESULTS:

At 1 year follow-up 6 patients developed hyperkalemia (range 5.3-5.9), 4 of them had K>5.5 mEq/l. Two patients developed hyponatremia. Six patients stopped spironolactone for: 1-gynecomastia, 2-worsening renal failure and hyperkalemia, 2-hyperkalemia (5.9 mEq/l) and 1 for bradycardia. There was an increase in mean creatinine level at 1 year (1.12±0.35 vs. 1.21±0.38 mg/dl, p=0.02), however, no significant changes were found in GFR (99.9±33.5 vs. 65.7±27.7 ml min(-1)1.73 m(-2), p=ns) and potassium (4.5±0.4 vs. 4.6±0.5 mEq/l, p=ns). We found improvement of GFR by >10% in 19 patients and worsening by >10% in 38 patients. No patient was hospitalized or required urgent treatment for spironolactone-related side effects.

CONCLUSIONS:

In patients with CHF on optimal therapy with ACE inhibitors and β blockers appropriate spironolactone use and close follow-up by a dedicated HF team can minimize the risk for adverse events and complications.

Copyright © 2011 European Federation of Internal Medicine. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

PMID:
21767763
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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