Diuretics Reduce Risk of Death From Congestive Heart Failure

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Heart Failure Treatment

Diuretics reduce the risk of death, delay heart deterioration and improve exercise capacity in patients with congestive heart failure, a new review of studies shows.

Although widely used for quick relief of CHF symptoms, cough, shortness of breath and swelling in the feet, legs and ankles, up until now it was not known whether diuretics had a more substantial effect in treating CHF.

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"The available data from several small trials show that in patients with chronic heart failure, conventional diuretics appear to reduce the risk of death and worsening heart failure compared to placebo," according to the review team led by Dr. Rajaa Faris of Saudi Arabia.

Diuretics, which help the body get rid of excess fluid, should be used in conjunction with other heart medications in treating CHF, the reviewers said.

The review appears in the most recent issue of The Cochrane Library, a publication of The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research. Systematic reviews draw evidence-based conclusions about medical practice after considering both the content and quality of existing medical trials on a topic.

The researchers looked at data from 525 patients from 14 randomized clinical trials

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