OBJECTIVE: To elucidate the demographic and clinical characteristics of a consecutive series of patients who presented for evaluation of orthostatic hypotension. PATIENTS AND METHODS: From January 1, 1997, through September 309 2001, we assessed retrospectively the demographic and clinical characteristics, antihypertensive medication use, and blood pressure variability in 100 consecutive patients with orthostatic hypotension who underwent 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (OH group) and in a convenience sample of 100 age-matched patients who underwent 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring for evaluation of hypertension (HTN group). RESULTS: The OH group had a mean ± SD age of 71.6±9.4 years, and 42% were women. The most common symptoms were light-headedness and weakness. Comorbid conditions included neurologic diseases (38%), preexisting hypertension (36%), hyperlipidemia (31%), cardiac arrhythmias and coronary artery disease (45%), and neoplasm (28%). During ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, postprandial decreases in blood pressure were noted in 83% of the OH group, supine or sleep hypertension in 84%, and noncompensatory heart rate variability in 75%. Findings on autonomic testing wore abnormal in 99% of patients, serum creatinine value was increased in 30%, proteinuria was present in 27%, and left ventricular hypertrophy was present in 20%. CONCLUSIONS: Orthostatic hypotension is present in a heterogeneous group of disease states, is usually symptomatic, and is often associated with an abnormal blood pressure profile of reversal of circadian pattern, postprandial hypotension, and noncompensatory heart rate variability. Consequent target organ (kidney) damage can be as frequent as in patients who undergo 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring for evaluation of hypertension.
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