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Diuretics concern with heart failure

Routine use of diuretics in patients with heart failure could do more harm than good, surprising new US research concludes.

The study of more than 1,300 patients taking non-potassium-sparing diuretics found the drugs raised the risk of all-cause mortality and heart failure hospitalisation.

The researchers admitted their findings needed confirmation but warned they 'challenge the wisdom of routine chronic use of diuretics' in patients with mild heart failure.

The research, published online by the European Heart Journal, compared 1,391 patients on diuretics with a matched group who were not taking the drugs. Diuretics raised mortality by 31 per cent and heart failure hospitalisation by 37 per cent.

Study leader Dr Ali Ahmed, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, US, said: 'Chronic diuretic use was associated with increased long-term mortality and hospitalisations in a wide spectrum of ambulatory chronic systolic and diastolic heart failure patients.

'Symptomatic relief achieved by diuretic therapy might be at the cost of increased mortality and hospitalisation.'

But some experts were

sceptical.

Dr John Pittard, a GP in Staines, Middlesex, and CHD lead at North Surrey PCT, said: 'There is massive potential for confounding.'

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