Prevalence of postural hypotension at baseline in the Systolic Hypertension in the Elderly Program (SHEP) cohort

J Am Geriatr Soc. 1991 Nov;39(11):1057-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.1991.tb02869.x.


Objective: The objective of this study was to examine the prevalence and correlates of postural hypotension (defined as a drop in systolic blood pressure of greater than or equal to 20 mm Hg) in a cohort of elderly persons with isolated systolic hypertension (ISH).

Design: Baseline cross-sectional analysis of the 4,736 persons randomized in the Systolic Hypertension in the Elderly Program (SHEP).

Setting: A randomized multi-center double-blind outpatient clinical trial of the impact of treating ISH.

Participants: Men and women age greater than or equal to 60 years with the systolic blood pressure (SBP) greater than or equal to 160 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) less than 90 mm Hg.

Measures: Medical histories were obtained using interviewer-administered, standardized clinical history forms. At entry into the study, seated and standing BP was measured by certified BP technicians using a random zero sphygmomanometer. Postural hypotension (PH) was assessed at 1 and 3 minutes after the participant arose from a seated position.

Main results: PH was found in 10.4% of participants at 1 minute and in 12.0% of participants at 3 minutes. 5.3% of participants demonstrated PH at both time intervals while 17.3% demonstrated PH at either or both of the time intervals. Factors significantly (P less than 0.05) associated with the presence of PH were higher mean SBP and a lower mean body mass index.

Conclusions: Somewhat different persons were defined as having PH based upon the 1 minute and 3 minute standing measures of BP, and prevalence estimates of PH can vary depending on whether one or more intervals of measurement are used. Cross-sectional data analysis indicated that PH, in healthy community-dwelling older persons with ISH, may not be associated with a history of disorders or problems usually thought to be related to PH. However, prospective data are needed to determine the prognostic significance of PH, and whether one or multiple measurements carry more significance.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications*
  • Hypotension, Orthostatic / epidemiology*
  • Hypotension, Orthostatic / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Systole