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Use, misuse and abuse of diuretics

Published:February 21, 2017DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejim.2017.01.016

      Highlights

      • Diuretic abuse is heralded by drug resistance and signs of volume depletion.
      • Hyponatremia/hypokalemic metabolic alkalosis indicates chronic F/thiazides misuse.
      • Surreptitious abuse of diuretics causes idiopathic edema/pseudo-Bartter syndrome.

      Abstract

      Resolution of edema requires a correct interpretation of body fluids-related renal function, to excrete the excess volume while restoring systemic hemodynamics and avoiding renal failure. In heart failure, the intensive diuresis should be matched by continuous fluids refeeding from interstitium to plasma, avoiding central volume depletion. The slowly reabsorbed ascites cannot refeed this contracted volume in cirrhosis: the ensuing activation of intrathoracic receptors, attended by increased adrenergic and Renin release, causes more avid sodium retention, producing a positive fluid and Na balance in the face of continuous treatment. High-dose-furosemide creates a defect in tubular Na causing diuresis adequate to excrete the daily water and electrolyte load in Chronic Renal Failure.
      Diuretic treatment requires care, caution and bedside “tricks” aimed at minimizing volume contraction by correctly assessing the homeostatic system of body fluids and related renal hemodynamics.

      Keywords

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