Postprandial hypotension: a systematic review

J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2014 Jun;15(6):394-409. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2014.01.011. Epub 2014 Mar 13.


Background: Postprandial hypotension (PPH) is an important clinical problem, which has received inappropriately little attention.

Methods: A systematic search of the databases PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, and Web of Knowledge, from their inception to the present time, was conducted to identify studies relevant to the epidemiology, pathophysiology, and/or management of PPH.

Results: A total of 417 full-text papers were retrieved from database searching and, following screening, 248 were retained. Of these, 167 papers were considered eligible for inclusion.

Conclusions: PPH occurs commonly in older people and represents a major cause of morbidity. Although the pathophysiology of PPH remains poorly defined, diverse factors, including impairments in sympathetic and baroreflex function, release of vasodilatory peptides, the rate of small intestinal nutrient delivery, gastric distension, and splanchnic blood pooling, appear important. Current pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic management is suboptimal. Research into the pathophysiology of PPH represents a priority so that management can be targeted more effectively.

Keywords: PPH; Postprandial hypotension; blood pressure; fainting; falls.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Baroreflex / physiology
  • Diet
  • Gastric Emptying / physiology
  • Gastrointestinal Hormones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypotension / diagnosis
  • Hypotension / physiopathology*
  • Hypotension / therapy
  • Nitric Oxide / biosynthesis
  • Postprandial Period / physiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Splanchnic Circulation / physiology


  • Gastrointestinal Hormones
  • Nitric Oxide