Objectives In severe heart disease, parenteral administration of loop diuretic is often needed. We present clinical outcomes from episodes of care using subcutaneous continuous subcutaneous infusion of furosemide (CSCI-furosemide).
Methods Retrospective review of service improvement data. The heart failure nurse specialist, supported by the heart failure-palliative care multidisciplinary team, works with the community or hospice staff who administer the CSCI-furosemide. Data collected for consecutive patients receiving CSCI-furosemide included: age, sex, New York Heart Association (NYHA) class, preferred place of care, goal of treatment, infusion-site reactions, and signs and symptoms of fluid retention (including weight and self-reported breathlessness).
Results 116 people (men 86 (66%); mean age 79 years, 49–97; NYHA class 3 (36/116, 31%) or 4 heart failure (80/116, 69%)) received 130 episodes of CSCI-furosemide (average duration 10 days, 1–49), over half in the patient’s own home/care home (80/129,; 61%) aiming to prevent hospital admission. 40/129 (31%) were managed in the hospice, and 9 (7.0%) in a community hospital. Average daily furosemide dose was 125 mg (40–300 mg). The goal of treatment was achieved in (119/130, 91.5%) episodes.
The median reduction in weight was 4 kg (IQR −7 to −2 kgs, −22 to 9 kgs). Self-reported breathlessness reduced from 8.2 (±1.9) to 5.2 (±1.8). Adverse events occurred in 31/130 (24%) episodes; all but 4/130 (3%, localised skin infection) were mild.
Conclusions These preliminary data indicate that CSCI-furosemide is safe and effective for people with severe heart failure. An adequately powered randomised controlled trial is indicated.
- heart failure
- drug administration
- service evaluation
- symptoms and symptom management
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