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Table of Contents
Vol. 92, No. 3, 1999
Issue release date: February 2000
Cardiology 1999;92:156–161

Pearls and Pitfalls in the Use and Abuse of Diuretics for Chronic Congestive Heart Failure

Constant J.
State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, N.Y., USA

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The main purpose of using diuretics is usually lost sight of, i.e. it is for the relief of dyspnea by using the least amount of a diuretic. The production of a low output state and hypercoagulation in an attempt to achieve dry weight by lowering blood volume excessively are among the hazards of using more diuretic than is absolutely necessary to achieve the goal of relieving dyspnea. The use of jugular venous pressure measurement and the status of dyspnea should have precedence over body weight in determining diuretic dose adjustment. Often forgotten in using diuretics is that potassium without magnesium will not enter cells and that the almost universal preference for furosemide over thiazides threatens to increase the incidence of osteoporosis. Also, the tendency to ignore loss of the water-soluble vitamins thiamine and ascorbic acid may result in refractory edema and the inability to manage the stresses of congestive heart failure.

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