Clinical Autonomic Research

, Volume 18, Supplement 1, pp 2–7 | Cite as

The pathophysiology and diagnosis of orthostatic hypotension

  • David RobertsonEmail author


Orthostatic Hypotension (OH) is a common manifestation of blood pressure dysregulation. OH takes a heavy toll on quality of life. It has many potential etiologies, and many effects of aging can increase susceptibility to OH. Neurological disorders are especially likely to cause severe OH. In this brief review, the pathogenesis of OH is considered, particularly in terms of autonomic neuropathy, multiple system atrophy (MSA), pure autonomic failure, baroreflex failure, and dopamine beta hydroxylase deficiency. While OH is difficult to treat, its control greatly enhances the quality of life.

Key words

orthostatic hypotension orthostatic hypertension autonomic syncope fainting 



The help of my colleagues in Vanderbilt’s Autonomic Dysfunction Center is acknowledged. I thank Ms Ella Henderson for help in the preparation of this manuscript. Supported in part by the U.S. Public Health Service: P01-HL56693, R01 HL71784, and RR 00095. Disclosure Dr. Robertson has served as a consultant for Chelsea Therapeutics.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Autonomic Dysfunction Center, Depts. of Medicine and PharmacologyVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA

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