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The benefits of a low-salt diet for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) are controversial. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect of a low-salt diet on major clinical outcomes. Systematic review and meta-analysis. MEDLINE by Ovid, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library databases. We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and cohort studies that assessed the effect of a low-salt diet on the renal composite outcomes (more than 50% decline in estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) during follow-up, doubling of serum creatinine or end-stage renal disease), rate of eGFR decline, change in proteinuria, all-cause mortality events, cardiovascular (CV) events, and changes in systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure. Two independent researchers extracted data and evaluated their quality. Relative risks (RRs) with 95% CIs were used for dichotomous data. Differences in means (MDs) or standardised mean differences (SMDs) with 95% CIs were used to pool continuous data. We used the Cochrane Collaboration risk-of-bias tool to evaluate the quality of RCTs, and Newcastle-Ottawa Scale to evaluate the quality of cohort studies. We found 9948 potential research records. After removing duplicates, we reviewed the titles and abstracts, and screened the full text of 230 publications. Thirty-three studies with 101 077 participants were included. A low-salt diet produced a 28% reduction in renal composite outcome events (RR: 0.72; 95% CI: 0.58 to 0.89). No significant effects were found in terms of changes in proteinuria (SMD: -0.71; 95% CI: -1.66 to 0.24), rate of eGFR (decline MD: 1.16; 95% CI: -2.02 to 4.33), risk of all-cause mortality (RR: 0.92; 95% CI: 0.58 to 1.46) and CV events (RR: 1.01; 95% CI: 0.46 to 2.22). A low-salt diet seems to reduce the risk for renal composite outcome events in patients with CKD. However, no compelling evidence indicated that such a diet would reduce the eGFR decline rate, proteinuria, incidence of all-cause mortality and CV events. Further, more definitive studies are needed. CRD42017072395. © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2022. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.


Honghong Shi, Xiaole Su, Chunfang Li, Wenjuan Guo, Lihua Wang. Effect of a low-salt diet on chronic kidney disease outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ open. 2022 Jan 11;12(1):e050843

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PMID: 35017237

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