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J Clin Invest. 1981 Dec;68(6):1427-34.

Hemodynamics in diabetic orthostatic hypotension.


Hemodynamic variables (blood pressure, cardiac output, heart rate, plasma volume, splanchnic blood flow, and peripheral subcutaneous blood flow) and plasma concentrations of norepinephrine, epinephrine, and renin were measured in the supine position and after 30 min of quiet standing. This was done in normal subjects (n = 7) and in juvenile-onset diabetic patients without neuropathy (n = 8), with slight neuropathy (decreased beat-to-beat variation in heart rate during hyperventilation) (n = 8), and with severe neuropathy including orthostatic hypotension (n = 7). Blood pressure decreased precipitously in the standing position in the diabetics with orthostatic hypotension, whereas moderate decreases were found in the other three groups. Upon standing, heart rate rose and cardiac output and plasma volume decreased similarly in the four groups. The increases in total peripheral resistance, splanchnic vascular resistance and subcutaneous vascular resistance were all significantly lower (P less than 0.025) in the patients with orthostatic hypotension compared with the other three groups. The increase in plasma norepinephrine concentrations in the patients with orthostatic hypotension was significantly lower (P less than 0.025) than in the patients without neuropathy, whereas plasma renin responses to standing were similar in the four groups. We conclude that in diabetic hypoadrenergic orthostatic hypotension the basic pathophysiological defect is lack of ability to increase vascular resistance, probably due to impaired sympathetic activity in the autonomic nerves innervating resistance vessels; cardiac output and plasma volume responses to standing are similar to those found in normal subjects and in diabetics without neuropathy.

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