Background. Orthostatic hypotension is a common phenomenon in the elderly. Hormonal changes during orthostatic stress have been described in elderly normotensive people and in those with essential hypertension. However, the hormonal response in elderly people who have systolic hypertension during orthostasis has not yet been quantified. Methods. In this study we investigated 14 non-diabetic men, aged 60 to 75 years, with untreated systolic hypertension who were subjected to 45°passive head-up incline on a tilt table for 15 min. Their hormonal profile and hemodynamic changes were analyzed before and after the stress. Results. In the supine position, plasma levels of norepinephrine, atrial natriuretic peptide and aldosterone were in the normal range, while the plasma renin activity was low. Immediately upon tilt the systolic blood pressure fell but it reverted to baseline values after 15 min of orthostasis. At that time the cardiac output decreased while the systemic vascular resistance and the plasma norepinephrine concentration rose. The atrial natriuretic peptide appeared to fall, and the renin-aldosterone level did not change. Conclusion. The physiologic response to orthostatic stress in elderly people with systolic hypertension is comparable to that of elderly normotensive people and those with essential hypertension, i.e. a decrease in cardiac output and an increase in plasma norepinephrine levels. The atrial natriuretic peptide appeared to fall appropriately. The response of the renin-aldosterone system mimicked that in elderly patients with low renin essential isolated hypertension. These observations may have a bearing on the management of elderly people with systolic hypertension who also have orthostatic symptoms; they may not require a different approach from that needed for others of the same age group.
- Orthostatic stress
- Systolic hypertension
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine