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Congestive Heart Failure Death Risk reduced by taking Diuretics

February 13th, 2006

Congestive Heart Failure Death Risk reduced by taking Diuretics

Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is a build up of fluid in the body, and when treated with diuretics it can reduce the risk of death in the long term. Previously it has been widely used for quick relief of the fluid build up of CHF but a new research project confirmed that there is benefit for long term treatment with diuretics.

 "The available data from several small trials show that in patients with chronic heart failure, conventional diuretics appear to reduce the risk of death and worsening heart failure compared to placebo," stated the analysis team which was led by Dr. Rajaa Faris of Saudi Arabia.


The study first appeared in the current issue of The Cochrane Library which is part of The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research.  The reviewers of this study warn that diuretics should not be the only medication for the treatment of CHF.  It needs to be used with other heart medications to treat the patient fully.

The research study consisted of looking at the data from 525 patients from 14 randomized clinical trials.  Of the 14 trials, 7 of them were a placebo and the other 7 were with the use of diuretics.  There were three types of diuretics that were tested; thiazide, a potassium-sparing type and loop diuretics.  Sixty-one percent of the patients were men with an average age of 59 years old.

The researchers of the study estimate that around "80 deaths could be avoided for every 1,000 patients treated" with the use of diuretics for the treatment of CHF.  They do however say that the results were based on 15 deaths out of 221 participants.


Other names for CHF are heart failure and cardiac failure.  In CHF a person loses the ability to pump blood effectively through their body.  This causes a lack of oxygen and vital nutrients to be delivered throughout the body.  It creates fatigue and shortness of breath and extreme difficulty keeping up with everyday activities.  Fluid build-up in the body is also a problem with CHF.

The American Heart Association reports that there are around 5 million Americans suffering from CHF with 550,000 new cases diagnosed every year.  At this time CHF does not have a cure.  The diuretics are just one of the types of medication that is prescribed to improve the quality of the patientís life.  The medications are used to help slow the damage to heart and other organs and prolonging their life.

There are some downfalls to taking diuretics.  Diuretics can cause an electrolyte imbalance by depleting potassium and magnesium.  The other serious side effects of taking diuretics are an irregular heartbeat and kidney disorders.  If you take diuretics it is extremely important to have your doctor monitor electrolyte levels to make sure you are not having an imbalance.


On a good note, there was a long term study in the American Journal of Cardiology that CHF patients that took diuretics had a somewhat higher risk for developing diabetes that the death rate caused by heart attack and stroke were considerably reduced.

The report said that more research would be needed to further confirm the long term benefits of diuretic treatment for CHF patients because these studies were small.  They would like to compare dosage amounts with different types of diuretics to find the best treatment for CHF patients.

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By Nicole Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

Books on Heart Disease

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