Achievement of target blood pressure levels in chronic kidney disease: a salty question?

Am J Kidney Dis. 2004 May;43(5):782-95. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2004.01.009.


A large body of evidence supports the validity of lowering blood pressure (BP) to prevent cardiovascular (CV) disease in the general population. This issue becomes even more critical in renal patients because they carry a greater CV risk across the entire spectrum of chronic kidney disease (CKD). In these patients, achievement of lower BP levels also is fundamental to limit the progression of renal damage, especially in the presence of significant proteinuria. Although expert panels have strongly recommended to intensively decrease BP in patients with CKD, management of hypertension in these patients remains inadequate. Armed with the knowledge of the extreme salt-sensitivity of BP in patients with CKD, it is reasonable to hypothesize that more aggressive treatment of volume expansion can be helpful. Nevertheless, although abundant literature has evidenced that dietary sodium restriction decreases BP levels in patients with essential hypertension, no large and prospective study has been conducted to date on this issue in patients with CKD. A potential reason is the low compliance of patients with CKD to dietary prescriptions; however, this problem can be overcome by specific counseling. Alternatively, loop diuretics administered at a high dose should represent the cornerstone of therapy, but, again, well-designed studies verifying the effectiveness of these agents in a large CKD population are still awaited. Nephrologists seem to be reluctant to adequately administer diuretics because of the fear of adverse events. Conversely, the major detrimental effect, that is, excessive hypovolemia, can be prevented if daily body weight loss is limited to 0.3 to 0.5 kg during the initial period of treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Blood Pressure
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Diet, Sodium-Restricted
  • Diuretics / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications*
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Hypertension / prevention & control*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / physiopathology
  • Risk Factors


  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Diuretics