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J Hum Hypertens. 2004 May;18(5):301-5.

Orthostatic hypotension in the elderly: are the diagnostic criteria adequate?

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Department of Geriatrics, Rabin Medical Center, Petqah Tiqwa, Israel.


Orthostatic hypotension (OH) is a common finding in the elderly. OH is defined as a fall of at least 20 mmHg in systolic blood pressure (BP) and/or 10 mmHg in diastolic BP upon assuming an upright posture. Some patients exhibit a fall in BP of less than the defined OH upon standing. The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of BP changes not defined as OH among elderly in-patients and to assess the relationship between these changes in the morning and the occurrence of OH during the day. Postural BP measurements were performed in 502 in-patients; in the morning, early afternoon, and in the evening. We defined intermediate postural drop (ID) in BP as a decrease of 10-19 mmHg in systolic BP and/or of 5-9 mmHg in diastolic BP. We observed that OH and ID occurred in 39.2 and 18.5% of the measurements in the morning, respectively. The prevalence of OH and ID was lower in the evening than in the morning (P<0.05) and afternoon (P<0.005). Postural BP changes in the morning correlated with those occurring later in the day. Patients who had ID in the morning had a 57% probability of having OH later during the day. In conclusions, ID is prevalent in elderly in-patients. ID in the morning predicts OH later in the day. Thus, postural BP drops below the OH range may be an important finding in the geriatric population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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