Introduction. Acute renal failure and fluid retention are common problems in pediatric patients after cardiac surgery. Furosemide, a loop diuretic drug, is frequently administered to increase urinary output. The aim of the present study was to compare efficacy and complications of continuous infusion of furosemide vs bolus injection among pediatric patients after cardiac surgery.
Methods. A systematic review and meta-analysis was performed in compliance with The Cochrane Collaboration and the Quality of Reporting of Meta-Analysis (QUORUM) guidelines. The following inclusion criteria were employed for potentially relevant studies: a) random treatment allocation, b) comparison of furosemide bolus vs continuous infusion, c) surgical or intensive care pediatric patients. Non-parallel design randomized trials (e.g. cross-over), duplicate publications and non-human experimental studies were excluded.
Results. Up to August 2008, only three studies were found, with 92 patients randomized (50 to continuous infusion and 42 to bolus treatment). Overall analysis showed that continuous infusion and bolus administration were equally effective in achieving the predefined urinary output, and were associated with a similar amount of administered furosemide (WMD=-1.71 mg/kg/day [-5.20; +1.78], p for effect=0.34, p for heterogeneity<0.001, I2=99.0). However, in the continuous infusion group, patients had a significantly reduced urinary output (WMD=-0.48 ml/kg/day [-0.88; -0.08], p for effect=0.02, p for heterogeneity <0.70, I2=0%).
Conclusions. Existing data comparing furosemide bolus injection with a continuous infusion are insufficient to confidently assess the best way to administer furosemide to pediatric patients after cardiac surgery. Larger studies are needed before any recommendations can be made.
Key words: furosemide, cardiac surgery, meta-analysis, intensive care unit, paediatric, acute kidney failure