Heart journal retracts Italian meta-analysis used in IOM sodium reduction report

By Stephen DANIELLS

- Last updated on GMT

Heart journal retracts Italian meta-analysis used in IOM sodium reduction report
A meta-analysis purported to show that low-sodium diets are harmful to patients with heart failure, and cited by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in its recent report, has been retracted by its journal.

The IOM relied on three Italian studies when it reported that sodium intakes as low as 1,500 milligrams per day might put congestive heart failure patients at risk of adverse health outcomes, but doubts surfaced about data from two of these studies.

The meta-analysis in Heart​ by DiNicolantonio et al (21 August 2012) has been retracted following a review by the BMJ Publishing Ethics Committee that found the use of duplicate data, the reliability of which could not be substantiated.

In its retraction (Heart 2013, Vol. 99, pp. 820, doi:10.1136/heartjnl-2012-302337ret), the journal states that the meta-analysis used data from six earlier papers.  

“It has come to our attention that two of these papers contain duplicate data in tables reporting baseline data and treatment effects […] The Committee considered that without sight of the raw data on which the two papers containing the duplicate data were based, their reliability could not be substantiated.

“Following inquiries, it turns out that the raw data are no longer available having been lost as a result of computer failure.

“Under the circumstances, it was the Committee's recommendation that the Heart meta-analysis should be retracted on the ground that the reliability of the data on which it is based cannot be substantiated.”

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