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Introduction Heart failure is frequently complicated by renal failure, and this association is a negative prognostic factor. These patients sometimes present oligo-/anuria and resistance to high-dose furosemide, a condition referred to as the cardiorenal syndrome (CRS). Acute or chronic reductions in left ventricular function result in decreased blood flow, with reduction of renal perfusion and activation of several neurohormonal systems, which cause resistance to diuretic therapy. This condition often requires ultrafiltration, which is an effective, but invasive and expensive procedure. Infusions of hypertonic saline solution (HSS) and high-dose furosemide can be an effective alternative. Materials and methods From November 2009 through May 2010, our team treated 20 patients with CRS and resistance to iv boluses of high-dose furosemide. These patients were treated with small-volume (150-250 mL) infusions of HSS (NaCl 1.57 – 4.5%, depending on serum Na values) and high-dose furosemide twice a day. The aim of this treatment is to modify renal hemodynamics and the water-saline balance in the kidney by counteracting the extracellular fluid accumulation and eliminating symptoms of congestion. Results In 18 patients (90%), urine output was restored and renal function improved during the first hours of treatment. Clinical improvement was evident from the first day of therapy, and there were no adverse events. Two patients (10%) did not respond to the treatment: one (who had been in critical condition since admission) died; the other required regular sessions of ultrafiltration. Conclusions HSS combined with high-dose furosemide is a safe, effective, low-cost approach to the treatment of CRS that is resistant to diuretic therapy.
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