Purpose of review: Patients with severe orthostatic hypotension due to autonomic failure may be hypertensive in the supine position. Until recently, there were no internationally recognized diagnostic criteria for supine hypertension. This review covers diagnostic criteria, mechanisms, and management of supine hypertension in autonomic failure patients.
Recent findings: Recently, an international consensus group defined supine hypertension in patients with neurogenic orthostatic hypotension as brachial SBP at least 140 mmHg and/or DBP at least 90 mmHg while supine. Using these criteria, a large proportion of patients with orthostatic hypotension is diagnosed with supine hypertension. Recent research supports the concept that the hypertension can be mediated through residual sympathetic nervous system function and independently from sympathetic activity, for example via mineralocorticoid receptor activation.
Summary: The clear definition of supine hypertension is an important step that will hopefully foster clinical research in this area. Supine hypertension promotes renal sodium excretion, thus, worsening orthostatic hypotension the next morning. Supine hypertension may promote cardiovascular and renal disease. Yet, long-term benefits of treating supine hypertension be it through non pharmacological or pharmacological means have not been proven by sufficiently large clinical trials.