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VIDEO: Intermittent furosemide during acute HFpEF favors kidneys

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Bolus furosemide became standard following DOSE report

In the Diuretic Optimization Strategies Evaluation (DOSE) trial, we enrolled heart failure patients with a mix of reduced ejection fraction and preserved ejection fraction. The DOSE results showed no relationship between ejection fraction and the response to furosemide treatment by intermittent bolus or by continuous infusion in patients hospitalized with acute decompensated heart failure. The results also showed that continuous infusion was no better than intermittent bolus treatment, and following our report in 2011 (N Engl J Med. 2011 Mar 3;364[9]:797-805), many centers that had previously relied on continuous furosemide switched to use of bolus doses primarily because continuous infusion is much less convenient.

Dr. G. Michael Felker, professor of medicine at Duke University, Durham, N.C. Mitchel L. Zoler/Frontline Medical News

Dr. G. Michael Felker

But it is important to keep in mind that trial results focus on averages and populations of patients. Anecdotally, we see some acute heart failure patients who seem to respond better to continuous infusion, and so some clinicians switch patients who do not respond well to bolus treatment to continuous infusion. In DOSE, we only tested the efficacy of the initial strategy; we have no evidence on whether or not changing the dosing strategy helps patients who do not respond adequately to an initial strategy of intermittent bolus doses.

G. Michael Felker, MD , professor of medicine at Duke University, Durham, N.C., made these comments in an interview. He has been a consultant to Amgen, Bristol-Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline, Medtronic, MyoKardia, Novartis, Stealth, and Trevena.



– Patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction who were hospitalized for acute decompensation had a significantly smaller rise in serum creatinine when treated with intermittent, bolus doses of furosemide, compared with patients who received a continuous furosemide infusion in a single-center, randomized trial with 90 patients.

Intermittent furosemide also resulted in many fewer episodes of worsening renal function. In the trial, 12% of patients who received bolus furosemide doses developed worsening renal function during hospitalization compared with 36% of patients treated with a continuous furosemide infusion, Kavita Sharma, MD, said at the annual scientific meeting of the Heart Failure Society of America.

While acknowledging that this finding is preliminary because it was made in a relatively small, single-center study, “I’d be cautious about continuous infusion” in acute decompensated patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF); “bolus is preferred,” Dr. Sharma said in a video interview.

Results from the prior Diuretic Optimization Strategies Evaluation (DOSE) trial, published in 2011, had shown no significant difference in renal function in hospitalized heart failure patients randomized to receive either bolus or continuous furosemide, but that study largely enrolled patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) (N Engl J Med. 2011 Mar 3;364[9]:797-805).

“When patients with HFpEF are hospitalized with acute heart failure there is a high rate of kidney injury, that often results in slowing diuresis leading to longer hospital stays. With adjustment for changes in blood pressure and volume of diuresis we saw a fourfold increase in worsening renal failure [with continuous infusion], so you should think twice before using continuous dosing,” said Dr. Sharma, a heart failure cardiologist at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore.

She presented results from Diuretics and Dopamine in Heart Failure With Preserved Ejection Fraction (ROPA-DOP), which randomized 90 hospitalized heart failure patients with a left ventricular ejection fraction of at least 50% and an estimated glomerular filtration rate of more than 15 mL/min/1.73 m2. The enrolled patients averaged 66 years old, 61% were women, their average body mass index was 41 kg/m2, and their average estimated glomerular filtration rate was 58 mL/min/1.73 m2.

The study’s primary endpoint was percent change in creatinine during hospitalization, which rose by an average 5% in the patients who received intermittent bolus furosemide and by an average 16% in patient who received a continuous infusion, a statistically significant difference. In a regression analysis that controlled for between-group differences in patient’s age, sex, race, body mass index, smoking status, changes in systolic blood pressure, heart rate, fluid balance after 72 hours, and other variables, patients treated with continuous furosemide infusion averaged an 11% greater increase in serum creatinine, Dr. Sharma reported. After similar adjustments, the secondary endpoint rate of worsening renal function was more than four times more likely to occur in the patients on continuous infusion compared with those who received intermittent bolus treatment, she said.

A second aspect of the ROPA-DOP trial randomized the same patients to received either low dose (3 mcg/kg per min) dopamine or placebo during hospitalization. The results showed that low-dose dopamine had no significant impact on either change in creatinine levels or on the incidence of worsening renal function compared with placebo, though dopamine treatment did link with a nonsignificant trend toward somewhat greater diuresis. These results were consistent with prior findings in the Renal Optimization Strategies Evaluation (ROSE) trial (JAMA. 2013 Nov 18;310[23]:2533-43), which used a mixed population of patients with HFpEF or HFrEF but predominantly patients with HFrEF, Dr. Sharma noted.

“It was a neutral finding [for dopamine in ROPA-DOP], and while there was no harm from dopamine there was clearly no benefit,” she said. It is possible that HFpEF patients with right ventricular dysfunction secondary to pulmonary hypertension might benefit from low-dose dopamine, but this needs further study, Dr. Sharma said.

On Twitter @mitchelzoler

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