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Diuretic efficacy of high dose furosemide in severe heart failure: bolus injection versus continuous infusion.

Author(s): Dormans TP, van Meyel JJ, Gerlag PG, Tan Y, Russel FG, Smits P

Affiliation(s): Department of Pharmacology, University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Publication date & source: 1996-08, J Am Coll Cardiol., 28(2):376-82.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

OBJECTIVES: The efficacy of high dose furosemide as a continuous infusion was compared with a bolus injection of equal dose in patients with severe heart failure. BACKGROUND: The delivery rate of furosemide into the nephron has been proved to be a determinant of diuretic efficacy in healthy volunteers. METHODS: In a randomized crossover study we compared the efficacy of a continuous infusion of high dose furosemide (mean daily dosage 690 mg, range 250 to 2,000) versus a single bolus injection of an equal dose in 20 patients with severe heart failure. The patients received an equal dosage, either as a single intravenous bolus injection or as an 8-h continuous infusion preceded by a loading dose (20% of total dosage). RESULTS: Mean (+/- SEM) daily urinary volume (infusion 2,860 +/- 240 ml, bolus 2,260 +/- 150 ml, p = 0.0005) and sodium excretion (infusion 210 +/- 40 mmol, bolus 150 +/- 20 mmol, p = 0.0045) were significantly higher after treatment with continuous infusion than with bolus injection, despite significantly lower urinary furosemide excretion (infusion 310 +/- 60 mg every 24 h, bolus 330 +/- 60 mg every 24 h, p = 0.0195). The maximal plasma furosemide concentration was significantly higher after bolus injection than during continuous infusion (infusion 24 +/- 5 micrograms/ml, bolus 95 +/- 20 micrograms/ml, p < 0.0001). Short-term, completely reversible hearing loss was reported only after bolus injection in 5 patients. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that in patients with severe heart failure, high dose furosemide administered as a continuous infusion is more efficacious than bolus injection and causes less ototoxic side effects.

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