Scientists are reporting the first evidence to associate dietary salt intake with the risk of developing atrial fibrillation (AF).
While excessive salt consumption is already known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, less is known about the relationship between salt intake and AF. To better understand this relationship, researchers evaluated the association between dietary sodium intake and the incidence of new-onset AF among 716 subjects in Finland from the Oulu Project Elucidating Risk of Atherosclerosis (OPERA) cohort.
During a mean follow up of 19 years, 74 individuals were diagnosed with new-onset AF. There was a higher incidence of AF in those in the highest quartiles of salt consumption (16.8%) compared to those in the lowest quartiles (1st 6.7%, 2nd 7.3% and 3rd 10.6%; P=.006).
Lead author Tero Pääkkö of the University of Oulu, Finland, said: “This study provides the first evidence that dietary salt may increase the risk of new-onset atrial fibrillation.
"Although further confirmatory studies are needed, our results suggest that people who are at an increased risk of atrial fibrillation may benefit from restricting salt in their diet.”
The findings are published in the Annals of Medicine.