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Slow continuous ultrafiltration: just fluids?


Slow continuous ultrafiltration (SCUF) is known to reduce extravascular water [1, 2]. We hypothesized that, in acute decompensated heart failure, SCUF may reduce both the cardiac preload and the respiratory workload.


Ten patients (six males, four females; age 76 ± 4 years, NYHA classes III–IV) admitted to our medical ICU for acute decompensated heart failure were treated with SCUF (Aquadex-flex flow; CHF USA). The heart rate (HR), mean arterial pressure (MAP), arterial blood gas analysis and inferior vena cava (IVC) diameter with M-mode subcostal echocardiography were evaluated before (T0) and immediately after (T1) SCUF.


The mean ultrafiltration time was 25.5 ± 5 hours with a mean volume of 259 ml/hour and a total ultrafiltrate production of 6.6 ± 2 l. Differences between T0 and T1 parameters are presented in Table 1. No hemodynamic instability was observed. A significant reduction of IVC diameters and PCO2 was founded, with a near 30% PCO2 reduction in hypercapnic patients (4/10).

Table 1


In our preliminary report, SCUF seems to improve cardiac preload in congestive heart failure and to correct carbon dioxide in those patients who are hypercapnic too. The latter is probably due to both lung water [3] and respiratory workload reduction.


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  3. Costanzo MR, et al: J Am Coll Cardiol. 2007, 49: 675-683. 10.1016/j.jacc.2006.07.073.

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Paladino, F., Del Gaudio, S., Guiotto, G. et al. Slow continuous ultrafiltration: just fluids?. Crit Care 12 (Suppl 2), P472 (2008).

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