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Curr Hypertens Rep. 2000 Oct;2(5):457-62.

Management of postural hypotension.

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Medical College of Wisconsin, 8701 Watertown Plank Road, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA.


Several mechanisms counteract the gravitational forces on blood and maintain systemic arterial pressure and cerebral perfusion upon assumption of the upright posture. Failure of these mechanisms can lead to a postural decrease in blood pressure. Postural hypotension is defined as a reduction of at least 20 mm Hg in systolic blood pressure or at least a 10 mm Hg decrease in diastolic blood pressure. Acute postural hypotension is usually due to fluid or blood loss and responds well to fluid repletion. Chronic postural hypotension is due to drugs or endocrine or neurogenic disorders. A functional classification based on severity of symptoms is useful in monitoring the patient's condition and documenting improvement with treatment. Whenever possible, the reversible causes of chronic postural hypotension should be treated. For symptomatic treatment, a stepped approach starting with nonpharmacologic measures is recommended. Fludrocortisone, midodrine, indomethacin, and atrial tachypacing are recommended, in that order, for patients in whom nonpharmacologic measures prove insufficient. Other drugs can be added if necessary. The goal of treatment is to make the patient as ambulatory and symptom-free as possible without causing supine hypertension.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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