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Clinical Observation
September 24, 2001

Severe Orthostatic Hypotension Following Weight Reduction Surgery

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Internal Medicine A, Carmel Medical Center, and the Rappaport Family Institute, Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.

Arch Intern Med. 2001;161(17):2145-2147. doi:10.1001/archinte.161.17.2145

Surgical interventions for morbid obesity are common practice in many countries, especially when other treatment options have failed or when rapid weight loss is desired. The association between weight and blood pressure is well established, especially the paradigm of obesity-related hypertension. We describe a 45-year-old obese woman with a medical history of hypertension and type 2 diabetes mellitus who lost 57 kg within a few months after a weight reduction surgery. She suffered from severe orthostatic hypotension, which probably resulted from sympathetic nervous system dysfunction. Our patient's clinical status improved with pharmacological interventions, but her symptoms resolved completely after she gained weight following a surgical reversal of the gastric partitioning owing to a local complication. Autonomic nervous system activity does change with the changes in body weight, but after evaluation of this patient, we believe that rapid weight loss may impair sympathetic function and blood pressure control. Although losing weight is a known treatment option for hypertension, exaggerated reversal of obesity-related hypertension might result in orthostatic hypotension.

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