Background: The association between postprandial blood pressure, falls and medications is controversial.
Objective: To investigate cardiovascular responses to meals in elderly people together with clinical associations and therapeutic issues.
Methods: A cross-sectional observational study of 179 semi-independent older people (age 83.2 +/- 7.0 years) in residential care facilities was undertaken. Data on the frequency of falls, medical and medication history and measurement of blood pressure before and after a breakfast meal, and then after standing and walking after the meal were documented.
Results: Postprandial hypotension (>/=20 mm Hg fall in systolic blood pressure (SBP)) and low absolute SBP (</=115 mm Hg) were common after meals and exacerbated by standing. Risk factors for low postprandial SBP included use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (OR = 4.3, CI 1.4-13.1, p = 0.006), antipsychotic medications (OR = 5.2, CI 1.4-19.2, p = 0.007) and a history of smoking (OR = 4.7, CI 1.5-14.9, p = 0.005). Antihypertensive therapy ameliorated the postprandial decline in blood pressure. The incidence of falls was increased only in the 10% of subjects with low postprandial SBP.
Conclusions: Significant adverse cardiovascular change is common after meals in older people and a postprandial SBP of <115 mm Hg was associated with a history of falls. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and antipsychotic medications were associated with low postprandial SBP, which may provide a mechanism for their association with falls. Hypertension was positively and antihypertensive therapy negatively associated with postprandial hypotension.
Copyright 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel