Reducing sodium intake in hemodialysis patients

Semin Dial. May-Jun 2009;22(3):260-3. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-139X.2009.00570.x.


A low salt diet is beneficial for the whole population but has particular advantages for hemodialyis patients because of the role of salt restriction in the management of hypertension and interdialytic weight gain (IDWG). Education on dietary salt intake based on general healthy eating guidelines, such as the "DASH-sodium" diet, should be provided for staff, families, and carers as well as patients. Anuric hemodialysis patients will need to take in approximately 1 l of water for every 8 g salt consumed. Patients who restrict salt intake to <6 g/day, and drink only when thirsty, should gain no more than 0.8 kg/day. Those with significantly greater weight gains, but predialysis serum sodium close to or higher than the dialysate sodium, need further review of their salt intake. Attempts to restrict fluid intake in these patients will be futile. Patients with high interdialytic weight gain (IDWG) and low predialysis sodium should be assessed for other reasons for fluid intake, such as high blood glucose or social drinking. For patients with poor tolerance of fluid removal during dialysis, and those who are hypertensive in the absence of fluid overload, a salt intake 5 g/day or less may be required. Dietary advice for these patients should be customized to ensure that they do not become malnourished.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diet, Sodium-Restricted / methods*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy*
  • Renal Dialysis*
  • Sodium, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Sodium, Dietary / adverse effects*


  • Sodium, Dietary