Management of hypertension in the setting of autonomic dysfunction

  • Cyndya Shibao
  • Alfredo Gamboa
  • André Diedrich
  • Italo Biaggioni

Opinion statement

Supine hypertension is a common finding in patients with autonomic failure; it is associated with end-organ damage and produces nighttime pressure diuresis with worsening of orthostatic hypotension. During the daytime, it is best treated by avoiding the supine posture. At night, simple measures such as raising the head of the bed by 6 to 9 inches can be effective, but most patients require pharmacologic treatment. Transdermal nitroglycerin (0.1 to 0.2 mg/h) or nifedipine (30 mg, orally) has proved to be effective. Hydralazine and minoxidil are usually less effective but may be useful in a given patient. One key therapeutic concept is the hypersensitivity of these patients to depressor agents, requiring a careful titration of the doses on an individual basis. For those patients with proven residual sympathetic tone, as in multiple system atrophy, central sympatholytics such as clonidine may provide an alternative.


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Copyright information

© Current Science Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cyndya Shibao
  • Alfredo Gamboa
  • André Diedrich
  • Italo Biaggioni
    • 1
  1. 1.Clinical Trials CenterVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA

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