CLINICAL DO'S & DON'TS: Assessing for orthostatic hypotension

January 2005 
Volume 35  Number 1
Pages 30 - 30
  PDF Version Available!


  • DO

  • DON'T



  • Figure. Have her sit...

  • Figure. Assist her t...

    ORTHOSTATIC HYPOTENSION is a drop of at least 20 mm Hg systolic or 10 mm Hg diastolic in blood pressure (BP) when someone stands quietly for a few minutes after rising from a reclining position. The most common causes are volume depletion and autonomic dysfunction.


    * Assess your patient's history, signs and symptoms, and current medications.

    * Lower the head of the bed and place the bed in a low position so she can stand easily later in the examination.

    * Ask her to lie on her back and remain supine for 5 to 10 minutes. Then take and record initial BP and pulse readings while she remains supine. If her medical record doesn't contain previous readings on both arms, take her BP in both arms and record the higher reading.

    Figure. ...

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