Diuretics, the most critical therapy in heart failure, yet often neglected in the literature.
Dietary sodium restriction and diuretics are basic requirements in the treatment of CHF. The reduction in pulmonary venous congestion following the use of diuretics leads to a rapid improvement in dyspnea, promotes natriuresis without direct positive inotropic effects, and does not reflexively activate the neuroendocrine system. The recent literature has been replete with reports on the treatment of HF. However, very little has been said about the importance and the methods of use of diuretics in HF. Treatment of HF cannot succeed without regard for the role of the sodium ion in HF. There are nearly 5 million cases of HF in the United States. More than 500,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Hospital discharges and deaths due to HF have increased more than 100% in the past 2 decades with a 5-year mortality rate close to 50%. Since the leading cause of HF in Western countries is ischemic heart disease, aggressive therapy to halt progression of coronary atherosclerosis can have a major impact on controlling and often curing HF.