Orthostatic haemodynamic responses in acute stroke

Postgrad Med J. 1999 Apr;75(882):213-8. doi: 10.1136/pgmj.75.882.213.


Little is known about orthostatic blood pressure regulation in acute stroke. We determined postural haemodynamic responses in 40 patients with acute stroke (mild or moderate severity) and 40 non-stroke control in-patients, at two days ('Day 1') and one week ('Week 1') post-admission. Following a 10-minute supine rest and baseline readings, subjects sat up and blood pressure and heart rate were taken for 5 minutes. The procedure was repeated with subjects moving from supine to the standing posture. Haemodynamic changes from supine data were analysed. On standing up, the control group had a transient significant fall in mean arterial blood pressure on Day 1 but not Week 1. No significant changes were seen on either day when sitting up. In contrast to controls, the stroke group showed increases in mean arterial blood pressure on moving from supine to the sitting and standing positions on both days. Persistent postural hypotension defined as > or = 20 mmHg systolic fall occurred in < 10% of either of the study groups on both days. Sitting and standing heart rates in both groups were significantly faster than supine heart rate on both days. The orthostatic blood pressure elevation is consistent with sympathetic nervous system overactivity which has been reported in acute stroke. Upright positioning as part of early rehabilitation and mobilisation following mild-to-moderate stroke would, therefore, not predispose to detrimental postural reductions in blood pressure.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Blood Pressure Determination / methods
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypotension, Orthostatic / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Posture / physiology*


  • Antihypertensive Agents