Diuretic usage for protection against end-organ damage in liver cirrhosis and heart failure

Takefumi Mori, Yusuke Ohsaki, Ikuko Oba-Yabana, Sadayoshi Ito

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Volume overload is common in liver cirrhosis, heart failure, and chronic kidney disease, being an independent risk factor for mortality. Loop diuretics have been widely used for treating volume overload in these patients. However, there is a tendency to increase the dose of loop diuretics partly because of diuresis resistance. Neurohormonal factors are also enhanced in these patients, which play a role in volume overload and organ ischemia. Loop diuretics cannot improve neurohormonal factors and could result in end-organ damage. The water diuretic tolvaptan has been approved for use for volume overload in heart failure and liver cirrhosis. Despite causing similar increases in urine volume, its characteristics differ from those of loop diuretics. Renal blood flow is maintained with tolvaptan but decreased with furosemide in heart failure patients. Neurohormonal factors and blood pressure are not markedly altered by tolvaptan administration. It is expected that these mechanisms of tolvaptan can protect against worsening renal function by volume overload diseases compared with loop diuretics. It has also been reported that some patients do not respond well to tolvaptan. Loop diuretics and tolvaptan share the same mechanism with regard to decreasing renal interstitial osmolality, which plays a fundamental role in water diuresis. Thus, a high dose of loop diuretics could result in resistance to tolvaptan, so tolvaptan should be administered before increasing the loop diuretic dose. Therefore, volume control without enhancing end-organ damage can be achieved by adding tolvaptan to a tolerable dose of Na-sparing diuretics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-22
Number of pages12
JournalHepatology Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jan 1


  • renal congestion
  • renin angiotensin system
  • vasopressin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Infectious Diseases


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