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Europace. 2007 Oct;9(10):937-41. Epub 2007 Aug 24.

Orthostatic hypotension: a new classification system.

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  • 1Department of Electronic Engineering, National University of Ireland, Galway, Galway, Ireland.



Orthostatic hypotension (OH) is a common condition, which is defined as a reduction in systolic blood pressure of >or=20 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure of >or=10 mmHg within 3 min of orthostatic stress. Utilizing total peripheral resistance (TPR) and cardiac output (CO) measurements during tilt-table testing (Modelflow method), we classified OH into three categories, namely arteriolar, venular, and mixed. The principle defect in arteriolar OH is impaired vasoconstriction after orthostatic stress, reflected by absence of the compensatory increase in TPR. In venular OH, the predominant defect is excessive reduction in venous return, reflected by a large drop in CO after orthostatic stress with marked tachycardia. Mixed OH is due to a combination of both these mechanisms.


We analysed haemodynamic parameters of 110 patients with OH and categorized them as arteriolar, venular, or mixed. Significant differences between the groups were found for the magnitude and time to reach nadir of the systolic blood pressure drop post-head-up tilt. The mixed OH category had the largest systolic blood pressure reduction (42.5, 31.9, 53.3 mmHg, P < 0.001) and the longest nadir time (18.6, 20, 30.7 s, P = 0.002).


This is a practical classification tool and when validated physiologically, this system could be useful in directing treatment of OH.

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