The objectives of this study were to assess the reliability, sensitivity and specificity of salt-sensitivity classification in normotensive adults and to determine the predictive power of four clinical indices for salt-sensitivity. A total of 66 healthy, normotensive, free-living adults were administered 11-day salt-sensitivity diagnostic dietary salt challenges on two occasions to permit assessment of classification test–retest reliability. An oral glucose tolerance test, an acute saline loading test, gustatory testing and determination of salivary flow and sodium concentration were carried out to assess (by correlation analysis) their predictive power for salt-sensitivity. Following these procedures, 21 participants followed a reduced-sodium diet for 4 months, during which blood pressure was monitored monthly to allow evaluation of salt-sensitivity classification sensitivity and specificity. Regression was used to develop a predictive model for salt-sensitivity. Salt-sensitivity classification was not highly reliable (κ-value = 0.38), sensitive (0.73) or specific (0.60). No single index was highly predictive of classification status, but a model composed of five indices accounted for 92% of the variance in blood pressure response to acute salt challenge. The dietary salt challenge procedure used here for salt-sensitivity classification of normotensive adults had low test–retest reliability. While a battery of easily measured attributes may facilitate rapid salt-sensitivity classification, such a diagnosis provides only limited insight regarding blood pressure responsiveness to chronic dietary salt restriction in normotensive adults.

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