(HealthDay News) — A low dietary sodium diet, including intake below the standard recommended maximum of 2.3 g per day, is associated with an increased risk for in-hospital mortality among patients with heart failure, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology, held from March 4 to 6 in New Orleans.

Anirudh Palicherla, MD, from the Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska, and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials to compare low dietary sodium to usual care in heart failure. Data were included from 9 studies with 3499 patients.

The researchers found that the low dietary sodium group showed a significant increase in in-hospital mortality compared with usual care (risk ratio, 1.84 [95% confidence interval, 1.46 to 2.31; P<.001] for intake <2.5 g/day versus ≥2.5 g/day). No significant difference was seen between the groups in hospitalization (risk ratio, 1.45; 95% confidence interval, 0.99 to 2.11; P=.05).

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“Our findings showed that restricting dietary sodium to less than the usual recommendation was counterproductive in the management of heart failure,” Palicherla said in a statement. “This study shows that the focus should be on establishing a safe level of sodium consumption instead of overly restricting sodium.”

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