Objective: To examine the effects of reduction in dietary sodium intake on cardiovascular events using data from two completed randomised trials, TOHP I and TOHP II.
Design: Long term follow-up assessed 10-15 years after the original trial.
Setting: 10 clinic sites in 1987-90 (TOHP I) and nine sites in 1990-5 (TOHP II). Central follow-up conducted by post and phone.
Participants: Adults aged 30-54 years with prehypertension.
Intervention: Dietary sodium reduction, including comprehensive education and counselling on reducing intake, for 18 months (TOHP I) or 36-48 months (TOHP II).
Main outcome measure: Cardiovascular disease (myocardial infarction, stroke, coronary revascularisation, or cardiovascular death).
Results: 744 participants in TOHP I and 2382 in TOHP II were randomised to a sodium reduction intervention or control. Net sodium reductions in the intervention groups were 44 mmol/24 h and 33 mmol/24 h, respectively. Vital status was obtained for all participants and follow-up information on morbidity was obtained from 2415 (77%), with 200 reporting a cardiovascular event. Risk of a cardiovascular event was 25% lower among those in the intervention group (relative risk 0.75, 95% confidence interval 0.57 to 0.99, P=0.04), adjusted for trial, clinic, age, race, and sex, and 30% lower after further adjustment for baseline sodium excretion and weight (0.70, 0.53 to 0.94), with similar results in each trial. In secondary analyses, 67 participants died (0.80, 0.51 to 1.26, P=0.34).
Conclusion: Sodium reduction, previously shown to lower blood pressure, may also reduce long term risk of cardiovascular events.