The current therapy for patients hospitalized with ascites requires titration of oral diuretics and often needs several days. A faster method for predicting the response to a given dose of diuretic may allow this process to be completed more rapidly.
Describe the short-term safety and efficacy of a diuretic infusion to predict net sodium excretion in patients with cirrhosis, ascites and edema using a fractional excretion of sodium (FENa) of ≥1% as the target.
We conducted a retrospective case series of patients admitted for management of ascites who received intravenous furosemide by continuous infusion in ascites management. Patients were stratified depending on whether they had edema, received an intravenous bolus of furosemide or a large-volume paracentesis. The primary outcome was the proportion of patients achieving a FENa of ≥1% during the infusion. Secondary outcomes included development of electrolyte abnormalities or acute kidney injury (AKI) during or immediately following the infusion and natriuresis on titrated oral furosemide.
47 patients meeting criteria were identified from 721 patients seen in consultation. 10 of the patients had edema and received neither bolus intravenous diuretic therapy nor therapeutic paracentesis; all ten achieved a FENa ≥1%. One patient had transient hypokalemia. Of 37 patients who either had no edema or received additional treatment options, all but six patients achieved a FENa of ≥1%. Transient complications in the 31/37 patients with natriuresis included hyponatremia (n = 1), hypokalemia (n = 5) and AKI (n = 3). 24 hour urine sodium averaged > 4 g/d on the titrated oral furosemide regimen in 19 patients completing the collection.
Use of a short continuous furosemide infusion can achieve a FENa ≥ 1% in patients with cirrhotic ascites and may be safe and efficacious for diuresis, meriting further study.