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Ultrafiltration Effective for Patients with Heart Failure

Simple device effectively removes fluid and reduces length of hospital stay

FRIDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Two new studies suggest that in patients with heart failure, ultrafiltration can induce fluid removal and weight loss in an effective and well-tolerated manner, as well as reduce length of hospital stay and readmission. The studies were published in the Dec. 6 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Bradley A. Bart, M.D., of the Minnesota Heart Failure Consortium in Minneapolis, and colleagues studied 40 patients with congestive heart failure who were randomly assigned to eight hours of ultrafiltration or usual care. They found that ultrafiltration was successful in 18 out of 20 cases. The average weight loss for the ultrafiltration and usual care groups was 2.5 kg and 1.86 kg, respectively.

Maria Rosa Costanzo, M.D., of the Midwest Heart Foundation in Lombard, Ill., and colleagues conducted a study of 20 patients who were given ultrafiltration within 4.7 hours of admission to hospital and before intravenous diuretics were administered. A total of 12 patients were discharged in three days or less and only one patient was readmitted within 30 days.

"Ultrafiltration is probably safe and results in a fast and effective method of fluid and salt removal with a resultant improvement in the symptoms of congestion in patients with congestive heart failure," according to a related editorial by Robert Bourge, M.D. of the University of Alabama, Birmingham, and Jose A. Tallaj, M.D., of the Birmingham Veterans Administration Medical Center.

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