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Diuretics ‘best in patients at risk of heart failure’

By Nigel Praities

GPs should use diuretics first-line in hypertensive patients at risk of developing heart failure, say Italian researchers.

In a comparative analysis of data from 220,000 patients, the researchers looked at which blood pressure treatment is the best at preventing the development of heart failure.

The meta-analysis found diuretics treatment was associated with a 41% reduced risk of developing heart failure, compared with placebo. This compared with a 29% reduced risk with ACE inhibitors, 24% with angiotensin receptor blockers, 23% reduced risk with calcium channel blockers and a 13% reduced risk with beta blockers, compared with placebo.

Lead author Dr Sebastiano Sciarretta, a cardiologist at the University of Rome, said: ‘Our findings support the use of these agents as first-line antihypertensive strategy to prevent heart failure in patients with hypertension at risk to develop heart failure.’

Arch Intern Med 2010; published early online Nov 8

Diuretics ‘best in patients at risk of heart failure’