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Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2016 Aug 8;11(8):1463-71. doi: 10.2215/CJN.13461215. Epub 2016 Mar 31.

Ultrafiltration Therapy for Heart Failure: Balancing Likely Benefits against Possible Risks.

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Division of Nephrology, Hypertension, and Renal Transplantation, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida


Heart failure remains a major public health concern because of its high prevalence, morbidity, mortality, and financial burden. The poor clinical outcomes associated with acute decompensated heart failure, suboptimal efficacy and safety profile of conventional treatment regimens, and unsatisfactory experiences with the newer classes of pharmacologic therapy underlie the interest in the use of extracorporeal isolated ultrafiltration in this setting. In this article, selected mechanistic aspects of ultrafiltration therapy are briefly reviewed followed by a critical overview of the largest trials in this field. I will discuss the clinical relevance of renal dysfunction and decongestion as two commonly used end points of safety and efficacy in the ultrafiltration trials, with emphasis on the emerging pertinent notions that could challenge our conventional thinking. Finally, a number of practical recommendations (e.g., customization of ultrafiltration rates) are provided for ultrafiltration therapy in the setting of acute decompensated heart failure. Because of a paucity of evidence, universally accepted consensus guidelines cannot yet be generated. As such, when considering ultrafiltration therapy for acute decompensated heart failure, the likely benefits should be carefully balanced against the potential risks for an individual patient. A conceivable implication of the ultrafiltration trials is that collaborative heart failure programs benefiting from nephrology expertise and resources could improve the outcomes and reduce the cost.


Consensus; Humans; Morbidity; Prevalence; Public Health; Risk; clinical nephrology; diuretics; heart failure; nephrology; ultrafiltration

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