Orthostatic hypotension for the cardiologist

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Orthostatic hypotension is a phenomenon commonly encountered in a cardiologist's clinical practice that has significant diagnostic and prognostic value for a cardiologist. Given the mounting evidence associating cardiovascular morbidity and mortality with orthostatic hypotension, cardiologists will play an increasing role in treating and managing patients with orthostatic hypotension.

Recent findings

The American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association, and Heart Rhythm Society recently published consensus guidelines on the diagnosis, treatment, and management of syncope and their instigators, including orthostatic hypotension. Additionally, consensus guidelines have also been recently updated, reinforcing the universal definition orthostatic hypotension and its closely associated pathologies. Finally, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved droxidopa, a synthetic oral norepinephrine prodrug, in 2014 for the treatment of neurogenic orthostatic hypotension (nOH), and it represents a well tolerated, effective, and easy to use intervention for nOH. This represents only the second drug approved by the FDA for orthostatic hypotension, the first being midodrine in 1986. A handful of smaller head-to-head studies have pitted not only pharmacologic agents to one another but also nonpharmacologic interventions to pharmacologic agents. Additionally, recent studies have also reported on more convenient screening tools for orthostatic hypotension.

Summary

Though there have been many advances in the management of orthostatic hypotension, nOH remains a chronic, debilitating, and often progressively fatal condition. Cardiologists can play a very important role in optimizing hemodynamics in this patient population to improve quality of life and minimize cardiovascular risk.

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