Orthostatic Hypertension: Critical Appraisal of an Overlooked Condition

Hypertension. 2020 May;75(5):1151-1158. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.120.14340. Epub 2020 Mar 30.


Orthostatic hypertension, which appears to be mediated through excess neurohumoral activation while standing, is a common blood pressure trait among patients with and without arterial hypertension. However, lack of consensus regarding the definition of orthostatic hypertension makes it difficult to assess the true prevalence of this condition. Orthostatic hypertension appears to predict the risk for progression to arterial hypertension in younger and risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in older persons. Yet, the risk may differ between populations. Whether orthostatic hypertension indicates a generally increased risk of death, constitutes an intermediate variable in the causal pathway of cardiovascular risk factors, a simple measure of disease severity, or an independently acting mechanism is not known. Since both orthostatic hypotension and orthostatic hypertension herald increased risk of cardiovascular disease, it appears reasonable to screen the patients for abnormal orthostatic blood pressure responses using simple orthostatic testing. However, how presence of orthostatic hypertension may affect clinical management decisions such as the choice of antihypertensive drugs is currently difficult to ascertain. Clearly, this issue deserves more attention.

Keywords: baroreflex; blood pressure; cardiovascular system; orthostatic hypertension; standing position.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic Neurons / physiology
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiopathology
  • Baroreflex / physiology
  • Disease Progression
  • Heart Conduction System / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Hypertension / etiology
  • Hypotension, Orthostatic* / diagnosis
  • Hypotension, Orthostatic* / drug therapy
  • Hypotension, Orthostatic* / epidemiology
  • Hypotension, Orthostatic* / physiopathology
  • Norepinephrine / physiology
  • Posture
  • Prevalence
  • Tilt-Table Test
  • Vascular Resistance
  • Vestibule, Labyrinth / physiopathology


  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Norepinephrine