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OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the efficacy of the simultaneous hypertonic saline solution and IV furosemide (HSS+Fx) for patients with fluid overload compared with IV furosemide alone (Fx).
DATA SOURCES: Electronic databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, CENTRAL, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, PsycINFO, Scopus, and WOS) were searched from inception to March 2020.
STUDY SELECTION: Randomized controlled trials on the use of HSS+Fx in adult patients with fluid overload versus Fx were included.
DATA EXTRACTION: Data were collected on all-cause mortality, hospital length of stay, heart failure-related readmission, along with inpatient weight loss, change of daily diuresis, serum creatinine, and 24-hour urine sodium excretion from prior to post intervention. Pooled analysis with random effects models yielded relative risk or mean difference with 95% CIs.
DATA SYNTHESIS: Eleven randomized controlled trials comprising 2,987 acute decompensated heart failure patients were included. Meta-analysis demonstrated that HSS+Fx was associated with lower all-cause mortality (relative risk, 0.55; 95% CI, 0.46-0.67; p < 0.05; I2 = 12%) and heart failure-related readmissions (relative risk, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.33-0.76; p < 0.05; I2 = 61%), shorter hospital length of stay (mean difference, -3.28 d; 95% CI, -4.14 to -2.43; p < 0.05; I2 = 93%), increased daily diuresis (mean difference, 583.87 mL; 95% CI, 504.92-662.81; p < 0.05; I2 = 76%), weight loss (mean difference, -1.76 kg; 95% CI, -2.52 to -1.00; p < 0.05; I2 = 57%), serum sodium change (mean difference, 6.89 mEq/L; 95% CI, 4.98-8.79; p < 0.05; I2 = 95%), and higher 24-hour urine sodium excretion (mean difference, 61.10 mEq; 95% CI, 51.47-70.73; p < 0.05; I2 = 95%), along with decreased serum creatinine (mean difference, -0.46 mg/dL; 95% CI, -0.51 to -0.41; p < 0.05; I2 = 89%) when compared with Fx. The Grading of Recommendation, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation certainty of evidence ranged from low to moderate.
CONCLUSIONS: Benefits of the HSS+Fx over Fx were observed across all examined outcomes in acute decompensated heart failure patients with fluid overload. There is at least moderate certainty that HSS+Fx is associated with a reduction in mortality in patients with acute decompensated heart failure. Factors associated with a successful HSS+Fx utilization are still unknown. Current evidence cannot be extrapolated to other than fluid overload states in acute decompensated heart failure.
I am very hopeful that the days of salt and water restrictions in hospitalized patients will soon be behind us and hypertonic saline plus furosemide will become a more common way to treat acute heart failure.
This meta-analysis investigates an interesting treatment option. However, the finding of this analysis does not yet allow application in practice. Many aspects like dosage and duration of therapy are unclear. The risk for bias in the underlying study is considerable.