ED management of acute congestive heart failure in renal dialysis patients

A Sacchetti, J McCabe, M Torres, R L Harris
American Journal of Emergency Medicine 1993, 11 (6): 644-7
This is a descriptive report of the management techniques used effectively in the emergency department (ED) treatment of acute congestive heart failure (CHF) in renal dialysis patients. Study design included a prospective case series of consecutive renal dialysis patients who presented to the ED of a regional dialysis center in acute CHF. Clinical presentation, ED management, and outcome were recorded. Forty-six patients (38 hemodialysis and 8 peritoneal dialysis) were included in this study. Presentation classifications for these patients were minimal distress (13 patients), moderate distress (16 patients), and severe distress (17 patients). In addition to supplemental oxygen, treatment focused on pharmacological preload and afterload reduction. Patients received sublingual nitroglycerin (NTG) (30 patients), transdermal NTG (36 patients), captopril sublingual (10 patients) nifedipine oral (nine patients), nitroprusside (four patients), morphine sulfate (one patient), NTG infusion (one patient), and clonidine (one patient). There were no deaths in the study group, and 32 of the patients were able to be dialyzed and discharged, including seven patients in the severe group. Six patients required intubation, one of whom was extubated and discharged from the ED after dialysis. Intravascular access was obtained in 29 patients but was used in only six. All patients on nitroprusside drips were weaned during the course of their dialysis. Effective ED management of acute CHF in renal dialysis patients can be accomplished through preload reduction with nitrates and afterload reduction with captopril, nifedipine, and, in severe cases, nitroprusside.

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