Orthostatic hypotension as a risk factor for incident heart failure: the atherosclerosis risk in communities study

Hypertension. 2012 May;59(5):913-8. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.111.188151. Epub 2012 Mar 19.


Heart failure causes significant morbidity and mortality. Distinguishing risk factors for incident heart failure can help identify at-risk individuals. Orthostatic hypotension may be a risk factor for incident heart failure; however, this association has not been fully explored, especially in nonwhite populations. The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study included 12363 adults free of prevalent heart failure with baseline orthostatic measurements. Orthostatic hypotension was defined as a decrease of systolic blood pressure ≥20 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure ≥10 mmHg with position change from supine to standing. Incident heart failure was identified from hospitalization or death certificate disease codes. Over 17.5 years of follow-up, orthostatic hypotension was associated with incident heart failure with multivariable adjustment (hazard ratio: 1.54 [95% CI: 1.30-1.82]). This association was similar across race and sex groups. A stronger association was identified in younger individuals ≤55 years old (hazard ratio: 1.90 [95% CI: 1.41-2.55]) than in older individuals >55 years old (hazard ratio: 1.37 [95% CI: 1.12-1.69]; interaction P=0.034). The association between orthostatic hypotension and incident heart failure persisted with exclusion of those with diabetes mellitus, coronary heart disease, and those on antihypertensives or psychiatric or Parkinson disease medications. However, exclusion of those with hypertension somewhat attenuated the association (hazard ratio: 1.34 [95% CI: 1.00-1.80]). We identified orthostatic hypotension as a predictor of incident heart failure among middle-aged individuals, particularly those 45 to 55 years of age. This association may be partially mediated through hypertension. Orthostatic measures may enhance risk stratification for future heart failure development.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Blood Pressure Determination
  • Cause of Death*
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / diagnosis*
  • Heart Failure / epidemiology*
  • Heart Function Tests
  • Humans
  • Hypotension, Orthostatic / diagnosis*
  • Hypotension, Orthostatic / epidemiology*
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prevalence
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Distribution
  • Survival Analysis