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Heart Failure Patients Benefit More from Blood Filtering Than Diuretics Water Pills – New Inexpensive Filtration Machine May Save Lives

March 12th 2006

Heart Failure Patients Benefit More from Blood Filtering Than Diuretics Water Pills – New Inexpensive Filtration Machine May Save Lives

Filtering Machine

A new study, involving 200 heart failure patients’ shows that those that underwent blood filtering lost more weight and experienced greater net fluid loss than those treated with intravenous diuretics. 

According to the Midwest Heart Foundation in Lombard Illinois, heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalization in the US.  The foundation presented their filtration / diuretic comparison results to American College of Cardiology meeting in Atlanta. 

There are a million Americans admitted to the hospital with heart failure per year, according to a report by Reuters International.  This discovery may be very important for these patients’ recovery.  According to Dr. Maria Rosa Costanzo of the Midwest Heart Foundation, the findings “are immediately applicable to a large number of patients with decompensated heart failure."


Heart failure is a dangerous condition where the heart has a progressively harder time pumping enough blood to support vital organs.  This may lead to a buildup of fluid in the body, causing swollen legs and arms, fatigue and eventually excess fluid in the lungs.  Patients may experience a shortness of breath.

The blood filtering process involves removing blood through tubing in a small vein, and then circulating it through a filtering system that removes the excess fluid.  The blood is then returned to the body through a tube in another vein.  Unlike diuretics that take days to remove the fluid, this filtration process takes just 8 hours.

When a patient is admitted to the hospital for heart failure they may receive intravenous diuretics, which is the standard treatment.  This newer filtration treatment shows that after 90 days of treatments, patients undergoing filtration had significantly fewer days in the hospital, and had 50 percent fewer re-hospitalizations for heart failure. The filtration patients also had 52 percent fewer unscheduled doctor’s and emergency room visits.


The filtering machine, unlike diuretics, does not activate hormonal changes that can worsen heart failure.  The process can remove up to a pound per hour of excess salt and water from the blood stream.  There are no clinical effects on kidney function, heart rate, blood pressure or electrolyte balance.  After two days, the patients that underwent the filtration process lost 11 pounds, compared to 6.8 pounds on the diuretics, according to Costanzo. 

The process is not widely used because many machines require central venous access.  The newer machines, that cost around $10,000 each, allow blood to be taken from a peripheral vein, and in turn requires a smaller amount of blood to be outside the body at one time. 

The study was financed by CHF Solutions, a Minneapolis-based maker of the filtration system that was used.  The filters used in the testing cost about $800 each, but the researchers say that there is a savings because there are fewer re-hospitalizations.

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By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

Books on Heart Disease

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:50 PM