The official name of the UNLOAD study is "Ultrafiltration versus IV Diuretics for Patients Hospitalized for Acute Decompensated Congestive Heart Failure." Two hundred patients were enrolled in the trial, and they were divided into two groups -- one received diuretic treatment and the other received ultrafiltration treatment.
The study showed that hospitalized heart failure patients receiving ultrafiltration therapy lost more weight (from fluid loss) and experienced greater net fluid loss than patients treated primarily with diuretics. By 90 days after treatment, the ultrafiltration group had spent significantly fewer days in the hospital and had fewer repeat hospitalizations for heart failure. The group that received ultrafiltration also had fewer trips to the emergency room for heart failure and fewer unscheduled visits to the doctor for heart failure.
Ultrafiltration can remove as much as a pound of excess salt and water from the bloodstream each hour. Most patients undergoing this procedure stay in the hospital for an average of about three to four days.
For more information about heart failure, please take a look at the links on the next page.