FRIDAY, Dec. 28, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Sodium intake is associated with the long-term risk of new-onset atrial fibrillation (AF), according to a study recently published in the Annals of Medicine.

Tero Juho Wilhelm Pääkkö, from the University of Oulu in Finland, and colleagues used hospital discharge records and seven-day food diaries from 716 participants in the Oulu Project Elucidating Risk of Atherosclerosis cohort to evaluate the association between dietary sodium intake and the incidence of new-onset AF during a 19-year period.

The researchers found that the cumulative proportional probabilities for AF events were greater in the highest quartile of sodium consumption (16.8 percent) than in the lower quartiles (first quartile, 6.7 percent; second quartile, 7.3 percent; third quartile, 10.6 percent). As a continuous variable, sodium consumption (g/1,000 kcal) was independently associated with AF events (hazard ratio, 2.1) when age, body mass index, smoking (pack-years), office systolic blood pressure, left atrium diameter, left ventricular mass index, and the use of any antihypertensive therapy were added as covariates.

“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,” Pääkkö said in a statement.

Study authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.

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