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J Card Fail. 2010 Apr;16(4):277-84. doi: 10.1016/j.cardfail.2009.12.009. Epub 2010 Feb 4.

Ultrafiltration is associated with fewer rehospitalizations than continuous diuretic infusion in patients with decompensated heart failure: results from UNLOAD.

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  • 1Midwest Heart Foundation, Edward Heart Hospital, 801 South Washington Street, PO Box 3226, Naperville, IL 60566, USA.



Compare outcomes of ultrafiltration (UF) versus standard intravenous (IV) diuretics by continuous infusion or bolus injection in volume overloaded heart failure (HF) patients. In the Ultrafiltration versus Intravenous Diuretics for Patients Hospitalized for Acute Decompensated heart Failure (UNLOAD) study, UF produced greater fluid reduction and fewer HF rehospitalizations than IV diuretics in 200 hospitalized HF patients. Outcomes may be due to greater fluid removal, but UF removes more sodium/unit volume than diuretics.


Outcomes of 100 patients randomized to UF were compared with those of patients randomized to standard IV diuretic therapy with continuous infusion (32) or bolus injections (68). Choice of diuretic therapy was by the treating physician. Forty-eight hour weight loss (kg): 5.0 +/- 3.1 UF, 3.6 +/- 3.5 continuous infusion, and 2.9 +/- 3.5 bolus diuretics (P = .001 UF versus bolus diuretic; P > .05 for the other comparisons). Net fluid loss (L): 4.6 +/- 2.6 UF, 3.9 +/- 2.7 continuous infusion, and 3.1 +/- 2.6 bolus diuretics (P < .001 UF versus bolus diuretic; P > .05 for the other comparisons). At 90 days, rehospitalizations plus unscheduled visits for HF/patient (rehospitalization equivalents) were fewer in UF group (0.65 +/- 1.36) than in continuous infusion (2.29 +/- 3.23; P = .016 versus UF) and bolus diuretics (1.31 +/- 1.87; P = .050 versus UF) groups. No serum creatinine differences occurred between groups up to 90 days.


Despite similar fluid loss with UF and continuous diuretic infusion, fewer HF rehospitalizations equivalents occurred only with UF. Removal of isotonic fluid by UF compared with hypotonic urine by diuretics more effectively reduces total body sodium in congested HF patients.

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