Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Diuretic treatment in decompensated cirrhosis and congestive heart failure: effect of posture.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986; 292 doi: (Published 24 May 1986) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986;292:1351
  1. H Ring-Larsen,
  2. J H Henriksen,
  3. C Wilken,
  4. J Clausen,
  5. H Pals,
  6. N J Christensen


    The diuretic effect of the supine position was evaluated in six patients with cirrhosis and ascites and six with congestive cardiac failure. After fasting overnight in bed the patients received bumetanide 1 mg intravenously and were then immediately randomly assigned to either bed rest in the supine position or normal daily activity in the upright position for the next six hours. Two days later the procedure was repeated, the patients being assigned to the other posture. The diuretic response was similar in patients with heart failure and cirrhosis, and was significantly greater in the supine than in the upright position: mean 1133 v 626 ml/6 h (p less than 0.01). The natriuresis was similarly larger during recumbency: mean sodium 96 v 45 mmol(mEq)/6h (p less than 0.01), and the excreted potassium in six hours was similar in both postures. The glomerular filtration rate was 100 and 66 ml/min (p less than 0.01) and heart rate 76 and 83 beats/min (p less than 0.01) in the supine and upright positions respectively. Plasma concentrations of noradrenaline, renin, and aldosterone were all raised even when the patient adopted the supine position, and a further significant rise was observed during the upright position. The results suggest that the attenuated response to intravenous bumetanide in the upright position and during normal daily activity may be due to the activation of several homeostatic mechanisms that may reduce the excretion of water and salt.