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English language studies were identified using Medline (1966 to December 1997) with combinations of the search terms salt or sodium; restriction or dietary; blood pressure or hypertension; and randomised or randomized or random. 4 previous meta-analyses and the reference lists of retrieved citations were also reviewed.
Studies were included if they randomly allocated patients to either a low or high sodium diet; sodium intake was assessed using 24 hour urinary sodium excretion; no confounding occurred; effects on SBP, DBP, and mean blood pressure were reported; and mean age of patients was >15 years.
Data were extracted on sample size, mean age and sex of participants, duration of intervention, sodium reduction, …
Source of funding: The Aage and Edith Dysegaard Foundation.
For correspondence: Dr N A Graudal, Tissue Typing Laboratory, Section 7631, Department of Clinical Immunology, Rigshospitalet, 20 Tagensvej, DK-2200 Copenhagen, Denmark. Fax +45 35 32 78 53.