Birmingham, Alabama 35214


The purpose of the study is to test the hypothesis that persistent fluid retention and high sympathetic output contributes to the development of refractory hypertension (HTN). The investigators will determine, in a cross-over assessment of high and low salt diets, if dietary sodium restriction reduces 24-hr ambulatory BP in patients with refractory HTN. Moreover, the investigators will determine if dietary sodium restriction lessens the severity of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in patients with refractory HTN.

Study summary:

We are proposing a unique phenotype of antihypertensive treatment failure that we refer to as refractory HTN. We have come to feel that while resistant (RHTN) represents a broad phenotype with multiple and overlapping etiologies of treatment resistance, there is a unique subset of patients who never achieve BP control in spite of maximal therapy. In a recently published retrospective analysis of our clinic experience, we found that patients with refractory HTN comprised about 10% of patients referred to us for RHTN. A large number of intervention studies have verified the benefit of dietary salt restriction to reduce BP. We made such an assessment in a prospective, randomized, cross-over comparison of high- and low salt diets in 12 patients with confirmed RHTN. The average reduction in BP going from high to the low salt diet was 23/10 mmHg in the clinic and 20/10 mmHg during 24-hr ambulatory BP monitoring. These dramatic results demonstrated that patients with RHTN are exquisitely salt-sensitive and highlight the degree of BP reduction that can be accomplished with meaningful salt restriction. However, we are proposing the novel hypothesis that refractory HTN is mechanistically unique from RHTN in that it is not secondary to recalcitrant fluid retention. Determining an association between dietary salt restriction and severity of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) would potentially help us to find new therapies guided towards achieving better control of BP in patients with refractory HTN. We will investigate the effect of dietary salt intake on severity of OSA vascular function in patients with refractory HTN by doing vascular studies (pulse wave analysis/velocity, calculating thoracic impedance)).


Inclusion Criteria: - Adult subjects ≥ 19 years of age - Refractory hypertension defined as office BP > 140/90 that is uncontrolled with at least 5 different classes of antihypertensive medications - Self-reported adherence >80% with prescribed antihypertensive medications Exclusion Criteria: - Severe hypertension (office BP >160/100 mm Hg) - History of congestive heart failure (ejection fraction of <40%) - Chronic kidney disease (creatinine clearance <60 ml/min) - History of cardiovascular disease (stroke, TIA, myocardial infarction, or revascularization procedure) - White coat hypertension defined as office BP >140/90 mm Hg and ambulatory daytime BP <135/85 mm Hg - Pregnant or nursing women



Primary Contact:

Principal Investigator
David A. Calhoun, MD
Cardiology Department - University of Alabama at Birmingham

Felice Cook
Phone: 205-934-1400

Backup Contact:


Location Contact:

Birmingham, Alabama 35214
United States

David A. Calhoun, MD
Phone: 205-934-4633

Site Status: Recruiting

Data Source:

Date Processed: March 16, 2018

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