Diuretic treatment and diuretic resistance in heart failure

Am J Med. 1999 Jan;106(1):90-6. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9343(98)00365-9.


Diuretic therapy decreases capillary wedge pressure and improves New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class both in acute and chronic heart failure. In advanced symptomatic heart failure, loop diuretics are generally necessary to improve symptoms of congestion. Diuretic resistance in the edematous patient has been defined as a clinical state in which diuretic response is diminished or lost before the therapeutic goal of relief from edema has been reached. The major causes of diuretic resistance are functional renal failure (prerenal azotemia), hyponatremia, altered diuretic pharmacokinetics, and sodium retention caused by counterregulatory mechanisms intended to reestablish the effective arterial blood volume. Therapeutic approaches to combat diuretic resistance include restriction of fluid and sodium intake, use of angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, changes in route (oral, intravenous) and timing (single dose, multiple doses, continuous infusion) of diuretic therapy, and use of diuretic combinations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diuretics / administration & dosage
  • Diuretics / pharmacokinetics
  • Diuretics / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Heart Failure / complications
  • Heart Failure / drug therapy*
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Hyponatremia / complications
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications


  • Diuretics