Relation of Low Chloride Concentration to Diuretic Efficiency and Transplant-Free Survival in Children Hospitalized With Heart Failure.
Serum chloride plays an important role in fluid homeostasis and is associated with impaired diuretic responsiveness and mortality in adults with heart failure (HF). We sought to characterize the relationship of serum chloride and diuretic efficiency (DE) and to determine its prognostic importance in children hospitalized with acute decompensated HF (ADHF). We studied DE, defined as net fluid output/kg+constant per mg of loop diuretic/kg, in 200 children hospitalized with ADHF. Median serum chloride at admission was 102 mmol/L (interquartile range 99 to 105 mmol/L), and hypochloremia (chloride ≤96 mmol/L) was present in 16% of the population at admission. Serum chloride correlated with serum sodium (r = 0.66; p < 0.001) and bicarbonate (r = -0.39; p < 0.001). In the adjusted analysis, lower chloride was associated with reduced DE (p < 0.001). Serum sodium was associated with DE on the unadjusted analysis; however, the association was eliminated when added to the model with chloride (p = 0.442). Lower chloride was also associated with features of inadequate decongestion during hospitalization: a positive fluid balance (p = 0.003), greater cumulative loop diuretic dose per weight (p = 0.001), addition of a thiazide diuretic during hospitalization (p < 0.001), less weight loss (p = 0.025), and longer length of stay (p = 0.003). Chloride concentration was independently associated with death or transplant 1 year after admission (hazard ratio 0.94; p < 0.001). As a dichotomous variable, hypochloremia was independently associated with reduced DE (p < 0.001) and decreased 1-year transplant-free survival (hazard ratio 2.3, p < 0.001). Lower serum chloride at hospital admission is strongly and independently associated with impaired DE and reduced transplant-free survival in children hospitalized with ADHF.