Background: To assess the prevalence of orthostatic hypotension (OH) in an elderly population and to evaluate the influence of hypertension control and of the type of antihypertensive drug used.
Methods: 2,700 elderly patients (> 65 years) from the EPICARDIAN study were included. Blood pressure (BP) was measured twice with the patient seated and once again 1 to 3 minutes afterwards with the patient standing. Hypertension is defined as BP > or = 140/90 mmHg or if the patient received antihypertensive treatment. Orthostatic hypotension was defined as a fall of SBP > or = 20 mmHg and/or DBP > or = 10 mmHg 1 to 3 minutes after the postural change.
Results: 71.6% of the patients were classified as hypertensive and 57.1% were receiving pharmacological treatment. The overall prevalence of OH was 6.8% among hypertensive patients, 8.1% and 3.4% in normotensives patients (p < 0.05). No significant difference was found in the prevalence of OH between those receiving (7.7%) or not (8.6%) antihypertensive medication. No association was found either between the prevalence of OH and the type or number of antihypertensive drugs used. 17.6% of the patients reached hypertension optimal control (SBP < 140 and DBP < 90 mmHg), the prevalence of OH in these patients was 5.3%, among the uncontrolled the prevalence was 8.9% (p < 0.05). The adjusted OR was 1.91 (1.1-3.3) for the prevalence of OH in the uncontrolled patients versus the controlled.
Conclusions: The prevalence of OH in the elderly is not very high, being greater among hypertensive than normotensive patients. No association was found between the prevalence of OH and the number of drugs received. Reaching hypertension control reduces the prevalence of OH.