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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 91-97

Clinical management of neurogenic orthostatic hypotension

1 Department of Neurophysiology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Neurology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ravi Yadav
Department of Neurology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru 560029, Karnataka.
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/AOMD.AOMD_24_19

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Neurogenic orthostatic hypotension is a common disorder often seen in elderly patients affected with neurodegenerative disorders and peripheral neuropathies. Defective baroreflex-mediated sympathetic activation in response to standing results in neurogenic orthostatic hypotension. Lightheadedness, dizziness, blurring of vision, palpitations, and/or recurrent syncope in response to sudden postural change or prolonged standing are the characteristic symptoms presented by patients with orthostatic hypotension. Orthostatic symptoms may be further aggravated by certain medications, fluid depletion, food intake, increased temperature, or physical deconditioning. Bedside orthostatic test, head-up tilt table test, and 24-h ambulatory blood pressure monitoring are the important tests to diagnose orthostatic hypotension. Discontinuation of medications that cause or exacerbate orthostatic hypotension and non-pharmacological approaches should be initially tried to treat neurogenic orthostatic hypotension. If the patient does not have significant improvement, add-on pharmacotherapy should be administered. Midodrine, droxidopa, and fludrocortisone are the commonly administered medications for treating neurogenic orthostatic hypotension. Systematic reviews have shown that there is moderate level of evidence that droxidopa and midodrine improve orthostatic hypotension in the short term. Fludrocortisone is included in the treatment guidelines based on expert opinion, despite having low level of evidence. However, there is no much evidence for the long-term efficacy of any pharmacological agent used to treat orthostatic hypotension. Treatment of neurogenic orthostatic hypotension should be periodically assessed. Predominantly, it involves measuring symptomatic benefit including impact on activities of daily living as well as blood pressure monitoring.

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