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Ultrasound Allows Early Detection of Fluid in Dialysis Patients' Lungs
Date:3/1/2013

reen, associate chairman of the department of cardiology at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y. Fluid builds up because the heart isn't strong enough to pump blood efficiently. As the lungs fill with fluid, it becomes more difficult to breath, Green said.

In the study, fluid in the lungs was a better predictor of the risk of dying or having a heart attack than were other symptoms of heart failure.

Green called the study "interesting" but noted the small number of participants.

He said the results "suggest that use of lung ultrasound to assess early signs of fluid retention in and around lung tissue in patients with kidney failure on dialysis might help predict those patients at higher general risk of heart failure or heart attack symptoms -- namely shortness of breath and body fluid overload."

Those patients being treated for heart and kidney failure might soon have another test to help assess which patients not currently having symptoms might be on the cusp of developing lung congestion and worsening cardiac disease, he said.

"It's in this group of high-risk kidney and heart patients we could then intensify treatment and hopefully avert a problem before it develops," Green said.

More information

To learn more about dialysis, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Carmine Zoccali, M.D., director, Riuniti Hospital, Reggio Calabria, Italy; Stephen Green, M.D., associate chairman, department of cardiology, North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, N.Y.; Feb. 28, 2013, Journal of the American Society of Nephrology


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