Experts from China and Australia Congregate for Salt Reduction Strategies

On August 25 2019, the 5th ‘Salt Substitute and Stroke Study (SSaSS)’ annual meeting was held in Dalian. Over 60 investigators participated in the meeting to review progress of the trial and share experiences and insights. Those who attended the meeting included the Principal Investigators from China and Australia, the sodium reduction technical officers from WHO China and Resolve to Save Lives, all project leads from provincial study centers, and health administrators from national and local offices of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The SSaSS trial, initiated in 2014, is a 5-year, large-scale, cluster randomized controlled trial (cRCT) undertaken by The George Institute for Global Health in Australia and China, in collaboration with prestigous local medical schools and government institutions across 5 northern provinces (Liaoning, Hebei, Shanxi, Ningxia, and Shaanxi). The study is one of the largest cRCT ever undertaken, and involves 21,000 individuals from 600 villages in China. The primary objective of the trial is to evaluate whether salt reduction in the diet through use of low-sodium salt substitute can reduce the risk of stroke. The secondary objectives are to determine the effects on preventing major vascular events and death.  

The study’s Principal Investigator, Professor Bruce Neal provided a warm welcome and expressed his gratitude to all investigators for their commitment over the past several years. And Professor Yangfeng WU, principal investigator of the project also offered his welcome through a video and acknowledged the tremendous efforts all investigators put in overcoming various obstacles to ensure every success of the project. 

In SSaSS, all study participants have been followed-up every six month. At each follow-up, all suspected endpoints were collected and reviewed by a masked adjudication committee. 24 hour urine samples and spot urines have been collected in a random sample of participants every year. 

Impressed by everyone’s tremendous efforts, Dr. Ying Cui from WHO China, Dr. Jianwei Xu from China CDC, and Dr. Zeng Ge from Resolve to Save Lives, also shared their experience with other sodium reduction programs, and expressed their enthusiasm to learning about the study’s outcomes.

“Cardiovascular diseases, including stroke, are the leading cause of death in the world. Collectively, they account for more than 17 million deaths a year and the figure is rising. The problem is particularly acute in developing countries, where the need for initiatives to address cardiovascular health has been identified as a global health priority.” Professor Neal said

“If SSaSS proves that low-sodium salt substitute can reduce cardiovascular events, it will provide the scientific basis for decision makers to scale up the intervention to much larger populations at low-cost.”