Extracorporeal ultrafiltration for the treatment of overhydration and congestive heart failure

C Ronco, Z Ricci, R Bellomo, F Bedogni
Cardiology 2001, 96 (3-4): 155-68
Fluid overload may occur in patients with congestive heart failure. Under normal conditions, this is treated with inotropic support and diuretics. However, when diuretics fail, fluid removal becomes uncontrolled and other therapeutic options must be undertaken. Extracorporeal ultrafiltration is a possible solution to restore a status of fluid balance close to normal. Several new technologies have made ultrafiltration available today in all centers and easy to be instituted. Acute isolated schedules of ultrafiltration may, however, be too aggressive and result in severe hemodynamic instability. For this reason, continuous extracorporeal techniques have been applied in such patients and the therapy is generally carried out with success. Excellent hemodynamic stability, a good cardiovascular response and often diuresis restoration are the most common effects encountered using continuous forms of extracorporeal fluid removal. The potential for a home-based application of these techniques represents a further stimulating concept to be investigated.

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