OBJECTIVE: Orthostatic hypotension has a prognostic role in determining cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of orthostatic hypotension and its association with blood pressure (BP) levels, arterial stiffness, cardiovascular and metabolic disorders and medication in individuals aged 80 years and over living in nursing home. METHODS: In 994 individuals (77% women, mean age 88±5 years), the presence of orthostatic hypotension was tested according to American Autonomic Society and American Academy of Neurology guidelines. Arterial stiffness was evaluated with carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cf-PWV), peripheral to central pulse pressure amplification (PPA) and augmentation index. Cardiovascular and metabolic disorders as well as medications were recorded from patients' medical records. RESULTS: The prevalence of orthostatic hypotension was 18%. Treated hypertensive patients with SBP 140 mmHg or less had a lower prevalence of orthostatic hypotension than patients with SBP more than 140 mmHg (respectively, 13 vs. 23%; P < 0.001). Individuals with orthostatic hypotension exhibited higher brachial and central PP than individuals without orthostatic hypotension (respectively, 69±18 vs. 65±16 mmHg and 57±17 vs. 54±15 mmHg; P < 0.01). In these same individuals, a significant increase in augmentation index (31.1±14.0 vs. 27.2±13.6%; P < 0.01), but not in cf-PWV or in PPA, was observed. Individuals with orthostatic hypotension were treated more frequently with β-blockers and less frequently with angiotensin receptor blockers or nitrates than individuals without orthostatic hypotension (P < 0.05 for both). CONCLUSION: Contrary to the general belief, elderly individuals with well controlled BP (SBP < 140 mmHg) show lower orthostatic hypotension, thus constituting a complementary argument for efficaciously treating hypertension in these individuals.
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