Improved arterial distensibility in normotensive subjects on a low salt diet

A. P. Avolio, K. M. Clyde, T. C. Beard, H. M. Cooke, K. K. Ho, M. F. O'Rourke

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219 Citations (Scopus)


Arterial pulse wave velocity (PWV), a noninvasive index of arterial distensibility, was measured in 57 normotensive subjects who followed a voluntary low salt diet for a period ranging from 8 months to 5 years (mean 24.8 months). Subjects who followed a regular diet were matched for age and mean arterial pressure with the low salt (LS) sample and were used as controls (C). For both samples, subjects were divided into three age groups: Group 1 (aged 2 to 19 years, n = 16), Group 2 (29 to 44 years, n = 26), and Group 3 (45 to 66 years, n = 15). There was a marked increase in PWV with age in the control sample but not in the LS sample. There was no significant difference in aortic PWV for Group 1, but in Groups 2 and 3, the LS subjects showed a decrease of 21.8% and 22.7%, respectively, compared to C subjects. Aortic PWV (cm/sec) was: Group 1: C = 581 (SE 44), LS = 614 (SE 31); Group 2: C = 942 (SE 46); LS = 737 (SE 27) (p < 0.001); Group 3: C = 958 (SE 77), LS = 741 (SE 25) (p < 0.05)). Arm and leg PWV were also significantly lower in the older age groups. These findings suggest that normotensive adult subjects who follow a low salt diet (mean intake, 44 mmol Na/24 hours) have reduced arterial stiffness and that the effect is independent of blood pressure. This is a prima facie evidence that reduced salt intake has a beneficial effect in improving distensibility of the central aorta and large peripheral arteries, which is independent of its antihypertensive action.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-169
Number of pages4
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes


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