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Congest Heart Fail. 2006 Jan-Feb;12(1):55-60.

Hyponatremia and heart failure--treatment considerations.

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Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology, Section of Clinical Pharmacology and Hypertension, Division of Nephrology, Medical College of Virginia of Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23298-0160, USA.


Hyponatremia as it occurs in the heart failure patient is a multifactorial process. The presence of hyponatremia in the heart failure patient correlates with both the severity of the disease and its ultimate outcome. The therapeutic approach to the treatment of hyponatremia in heart failure has traditionally relied on attempts to improve cardiac function while at the same time limiting fluid intake. In more select circumstances, hypertonic saline, loop diuretics, and/or lithium or demeclocycline have been used. The latter two compounds act by retarding the antidiuretic effect of vasopressin but carry with their use the risk of serious renal and/or cardiovascular side effects. Alternatively, agents that selectively block the type 2 vasopressin receptor increase free water excretion without any of the adverse consequences of other therapies. Conivaptan, lixivaptan, and tolvaptan are three such aquaretic drugs. Vasopressin receptor antagonists will redefine the treatment of heart failure-related hyponatremia and may possibly evolve as adjunct therapies to loop diuretics in diuretic-resistant patients.

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