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Hellenic J Cardiol. 2011 May-Jun;52(3):227-35.

Continuous infusion of furosemide combined with low-dose dopamine compared to intermittent boluses in acutely decompensated heart failure is less nephrotoxic and carries a lower readmission at thirty days.

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The ACAP Program, Division of Cardiology, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, New York, NY, USA.



Furosemide is a potent loop diuretic that is widely used in the management of heart failure. Several reports have suggested that continuous intravenous administration of loop diuretics may be superior to intermittent administration. In addition the effect of low-dose dopamine to improve renal perfusion might be of benefit to this patient cohort.


We retrospectively evaluated 116 consecutive cardiac care unit patients, who were admitted with acute decompensated heart failure and were divided into two equal groups according to diuretic protocol. Group A patients received furosemide by continuous infusion combined with low-dose dopamine infusion. Group B patients received bolus therapy of intravenous furosemide. The effect on renal function and readmission rate was recorded.


Among 116 patients (60% males, average age 71, range 46-96 years) 41% had ischemic cardiomyopathy, NYHA functional Class was 3.5 ± 0.5 and average EF was 21% ± 7%. On admission, patients in Group A had creatinine (Cr) 2.3 ± 0.2 mg/dL, blood urea nitrogen (BUN) 49.2 ± 25 mg/100 ml and median b-type natriuretic peptid (BNP) 1340 pg/mL, compared to group B patients with Cr 1.7 ± 1.2 mg/dL, BUN 32 ± 22 mg/100 ml and median BNP 1106 pg/mL. The average furosemide dose in group A was 7.9 ± 3.5 mg/hr compared to 7.6 ± 2.7 mg/hr for group B (p=NS). At the end of the study, patients in group A had lower Cr 1.8 ± 0.9 (p=0.0001), lower BUN 43.6 ± 22.9 (p=NS), an increase in estimated glomerular filtration rate 57.4 ± 27.4, a shorter hospital stay (p=0.015) and lower readmission rates at 30 days (p=0.0003).


Continuous infusion of furosemide in addition to low-dose dopamine is safe, effective and less nephrotoxic than intermittent boluses in patients admitted with acute decompensated heart failure and portends a shorter hospital stay and lower readmission rates at 30 days.

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