Dietary salt intake. A determinant of cardiac involvement in essential hypertension.
Because a given increase in afterload does not consistently produce the same degree of left ventricular hypertrophy, we evaluated several clinical, hemodynamic, and endocrine factors that are prone to modify the adaptation of left ventricular structure in patients with mild essential hypertension (World Health Organization stages I or II). Dietary salt intake assessed by sodium excretion over 24 hours was a powerful determinant of posterior wall thickness (r = 0.64, p less than 0.001), relative wall thickness (r = 0.67, p less than 0.001), and left ventricular mass (r = 0.37, p less than 0.05). In contrast, diastolic pressure, body mass index, hematocrit, and epinephrine were found to be weaker determinants of left ventricular structure (r = 0.31-0.40, p less than 0.05). A stepwise multiple regression analysis revealed that sodium excretion was the strongest predictor for posterior wall thickness (p less than 0.02) and relative wall thickness (p less than 0.05) independent of the other examined variables. These results identify dietary salt intake as a strong determinant of cardiac structural adaptation to a persistent increase in arterial pressure. Consequently, a high salt intake might aggravate and, conversely, dietary salt restriction might prevent (or at least mitigate) the development of left ventricular hypertrophy in patients with essential hypertension.
- Copyright © 1988 by American Heart Association