May 1992

Delayed Orthostatic Intolerance

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, State University of New York Health Science Center, Syracuse.

Arch Intern Med. 1992;152(5):1066-1072. doi:10.1001/archinte.1992.00400170138025

In seven patients who presented with lightheadedness, fatigue, "weakness," and sometimes syncope, blood pressure was found not to fall after standing for 3 to 4 minutes but to fall severely, frequently with syncope or presyncopal symptoms, after 13 to 30 minutes when measured every minute with an automatic device. This delayed orthostatic hypotension could be corrected with inflation of a pressure suit to 45 mm Hg. Its mechanism was further investigated with measurements of plasma catecholamines, plasma cortisol and aldosterone responses to corticotropin, and the effects of norepinephrine infusions on blood pressure and venous contractility. There was normal or excessive orthostatic norepinephrine release in all patients, evidence of impaired venous innervation in the legs in some, and various disorders in the other patients. Since therapeutic improvement in the orthostatic hypotension greatly reduced the symptoms, we concluded that orthostatic hypotension occurring after more than 10 minutes of standing is a potentially debilitating and often correctable disorder.

(Arch Intern Med. 1992;152:1066-1072)