Objective: To compare the effects of furosemide administered by intermittent iv infusion vs. continuous iv infusion on urine output, hemodynamic variables, and serum electrolyte concentrations.
Design: Prospective, randomized trial.
Setting: Pediatric ICU.
Patients: Postoperative pediatric cardiac patients.
Interventions: Patients were assigned to either the continuous iv infusion or the intermittent infusion groups. The intermittent group received 1 mg/kg iv of furosemide every 4 hrs to be increased by 0.25 mg/kg iv every 4 hrs to a maximum of 1.5 mg/kg iv if the urine output was less than 1 mL/kg.hr. The continuous infusion group received an initial furosemide dose of 0.1 mg/kg iv (minimum 1 mg) followed by an iv infusion rate of 0.1 mg/kg.hr of furosemide to be doubled every 2 hrs to a maximum of 0.4 mg/kg.hr if the urine output was less than 1 mL/kg.hr.
Measurements and main results: Demographic variables, fluids, electrolyte and inotropic requirements were the same in both groups. A significantly (p = .045) lower daily dose of furosemide (4.90 +/- 1.78 vs. 6.23 +/- 0.62 mg/kg.day) in the continuous iv infusion group produced the same 24-hr urine volume as that of the intermittent group. There was more variability in urine output in the intermittent group as well as more urinary losses of sodium (0.29 +/- 0.15 vs. 0.20 +/- 0.06 mmol/kg.day, p = .0007) and chloride (0.40 +/- 0.20 vs. 0.30 +/- 0.12 mmol/kg.day, p = .045).
Conclusion: Furosemide administered by continuous iv infusion is advantageous in the post-operative pediatric patient because of a more controlled and predictable urine output with less drug requirement and less urinary loss in sodium and chloride.