A meta-analysis of continuous vs intermittent infusion of loop diuretics in hospitalized patients

Fahad Alqahtani, Ioannis Koulouridis, Paweena Susantitaphong, Khagendra Dahal, Bertrand L Jaber
Journal of Critical Care 2014, 29 (1): 10-7

BACKGROUND: Several studies have examined the potential benefits of continuous vs intermittent (bolus) intravenous loop diuretic administration in hospitalized patients with conflicting results. We conducted a meta-analysis to compare the efficacy of these 2 strategies in hospitalized adults and children with extracellular fluid volume expansion.

METHODS: We searched MEDLINE (through October 2012) and prior meta-analyses for randomized controlled trials comparing the efficacy of continuous vs intermittent infusion of loop diuretics. Random-effects model meta-analyses were performed to examine several outcomes, including net change in urine output and body weight.

RESULTS: We identified 7 crossover and 11 parallel-arm randomized controlled trials (936 patients) of adults and children. In the 15 studies of adults, continuous loop diuretic infusion resulted in a nonsignificant net increase in daily urine output of 334 mL (95% confidence interval [CI], -74 to 742; P = .11) relative to the bolus infusion. In the 8 studies that used a loading dose, continuous loop diuretic infusion resulted in a significant net increase in daily urine output of 294 mL (95% CI, 31-557; P = .03) relative to the intermittent infusion. There was also a significant net decrease in body weight of 0.78 kg (95% CI, -1.54 to -0.03; P = .04) in the continuous relative to the intermittent loop diuretic infusion. In the 3 studies of children, there was no demonstrable effect on daily urine output or body weight.

CONCLUSION: Continuous infusion of loop diuretics preceded by a loading dose results in greater diuresis in hospitalized adults with extracellular fluid volume expansion compared with intermittent dosing regimens. Further studies are required to examine whether these benefits translate into improved clinical outcomes.

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