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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2011 Apr;59(4):655-65. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2011.03352.x. Epub 2011 Mar 25.

Continuous noninvasive orthostatic blood pressure measurements and their relationship with orthostatic intolerance, falls, and frailty in older people.

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Technology Research for Independent Living Centre, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.



To identify morphological orthostatic blood pressure (BP) phenotypes in older people and assess their correlation with orthostatic intolerance (OI), falls, and frailty and to compare the discriminatory performance of a morphological classification with two established orthostatic hypotension (OH) definitions: consensus (COH) and initial (IOH).




Geriatric research clinic.


Four hundred forty-two participants (mean age 72, 72% female) without dementia or risk factors for autonomic neuropathy.


Active lying-to-standing test monitored using a continuous noninvasive BP monitor. For the morphological classification, four orthostatic systolic BP variables were extracted (delta (baseline - nadir) and maximum percentage of baseline recovered by 30 seconds and 1 and 2 minutes) using the 5-second averages method and entered in K-means cluster analysis (three clusters). Main outcomes were OI, falls (≥1 in past 6 months), and frailty (modified Fried criteria).


The morphological clusters were small drop, fast overrecovery (n=112); medium drop, slow recovery (n=238); and large drop, nonrecovery (n=92). Their characterization revealed an increasing OI gradient (17.9%, 27.5%, and 44.6% respectively, P<.001) but no significant gradients in falls or frailty. The COH definition failed to reveal clinical differences between COH+ (n=416) and COH- (n=26) participants. The IOH definition resulted in a clinically meaningful separation between IOH+ (n=85) and IOH- (n=357) subgroups, as assessed according to OI (100% vs 11.5%, P<.001), falls (24.7% vs 10.4%, P<.001), and frailty (14.1% vs 5.4%, P=.005).


It is recommended that the IOH definition be applied when taking continuous noninvasive orthostatic BP measurements in older people.

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