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Small vessel disease and dietary salt intake: cross sectional study and systematic review

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    Rights statement: © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of National Stroke Association. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases
Early online date8 Sep 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Sep 2017


Higher dietary salt intake increases the risk of stroke and may increase white matter hyperintensity volume. We hypothesised that a higher salt intake longterm may be associated with other features of small vessel disease.
We recruited 250 patients, 112 lacunar, and 138 cortical stroke, median age 67.5, performed brain MRI, obtained a basic dietary salt history and measured urinary sodium/creatinine ratio. After adjustment for risk factors, including age and hypertension, patients who had not reduced their salt intake longterm were more likely to have lacunar stroke (OR 1.90,95% CI 1.10-3.29), lacune(s) (OR 2.06 95%CI 1.09-3.99), microbleed(s) (OR 3.4 95%CI 1.54,8.21), severe white matter hyperintensities (OR 2.45 95%CI 1.34-4.57) and worse small vessel disease score (OR 2.17 95%CI 1.22-3.9). There was limited association between small vessel disease and current salt intake, or urinary sodium/creatinine ratio. Our systematic review found no previously published studies of dietary salt and small vessel disease.
These results should be replicated in larger, long term studies.

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