The relationship between estimated sodium and potassium excretion and subsequent renal outcomes

Kidney Int. 2014 Dec;86(6):1205-12. doi: 10.1038/ki.2014.214. Epub 2014 Jun 11.


Patients are often advised to reduce sodium and potassium intake, but supporting evidence is limited. To help provide such evidence we estimated 24 h urinary sodium and potassium excretion in 28,879 participants at high cardiovascular risk who were followed for a mean of 4.5 years in the ONTARGET and TRANSCEND trials. The primary outcome was eGFR decline of 30% or more or chronic dialysis. Secondary outcomes were eGFR decline of 40% or more or chronic dialysis, doubling of serum creatinine or chronic dialysis, an over 5%/year loss of eGFR, progression of albuminuria, and hyperkalemia. Multinomial logit regression with multivariable fractional polynomials, adjusted for confounders, determined the association between urinary sodium and potassium excretion and renal outcomes, with death as a competing risk. The primary outcome occurred in 2,052 (7.6%) patients. There was no significant association between sodium and any renal outcome (primary outcome odds ratio 0.99; 95% CI 0.89-1.09 for highest [median 6.2 g/day] vs. lowest third [median 3.3 g/day]). Higher potassium was associated with lower odds of all renal outcomes (primary outcome odds ratio 0.74; 95% CI 0.67-0.82 for highest [median 2.7 g/day] vs. lowest third [median 1.7 g/day], except hyperkalemia nonsignificant. Thus, urinary potassium, but not sodium, excretion predicted clinically important renal outcomes. Our findings do not support routine low sodium and potassium diets for prevention of renal outcomes in people with vascular disease with or without chronic kidney disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Albuminuria / urine
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate*
  • Humans
  • Hyperkalemia / blood
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Potassium / blood
  • Potassium / urine*
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / physiopathology*
  • Sodium / urine*


  • Sodium
  • Creatinine
  • Potassium