Launching a salt substitute to reduce blood pressure at the population level: A cluster randomized stepped wedge trial in Peru

Antonio Bernabe-Ortiz, Francisco Diez-Canseco, Robert H. Gilman, María K. Cárdenas, Katherine A. Sacksteder, J. Jaime Miranda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background: Controlling hypertension rates and maintaining normal blood pressure, particularly in resource-constrained settings, represent ongoing challenges of effective and affordable implementation in health care. One of the strategies being largely advocated to improve high blood pressure calls for salt reduction strategies. This study aims to estimate the impact of a population-level intervention based on sodium reduction and potassium increase - in practice, introducing a low-sodium, high-potassium salt substitute - on adult blood pressure levels.Methods/Design: The proposed implementation research study includes two components: Phase 1, an exploratory component, and Phase 2, an intervention component. The exploratory component involves a triangle taste test and a formative research study designed to gain an understanding of the best implementation methods. Phase 2 involves a pragmatic stepped wedge trial design where the intervention will be progressively implemented in several clusters starting the intervention randomly at different times. In addition, we will evaluate the implementation strategy using a cost-effectiveness analysis.Discussion: This is the first project in a Latin-American setting to implement a salt substitution intervention at the population level to tackle high blood pressure. Data generated and lessons learnt from this study will provide a strong platform to address potential interventions applicable to other similar low- and middle-income settings.Trial registration: This study is registered in NCT01960972.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number93
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 25 2014


  • Blood pressure
  • Hypertension
  • Operations research
  • Peru
  • Potassium chloride
  • Sodium-restricted diet
  • Trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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