Orthostatic hypertension: when pressor reflexes overcompensate

  • Nature Clinical Practice Nephrology 2, 424431 (2006)
  • doi:10.1038/ncpneph0228
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Orthostatic hypertension—a rise in blood pressure upon assuming upright posture—is an underappreciated and understudied clinical phenomenon. There is currently no widely agreed-upon definition of clinical orthostatic hypertension, the current definitions being operational within the context of particular studies. The underlying pathophysiology is thought to involve activation of the sympathetic nervous system, but the actual etiology is poorly understood. Orthostatic hypertension is observed in association with a variety of other clinical conditions, including essential hypertension, dysautonomias, and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Orthostatic hypertension has been associated with increased occurrence of silent cerebrovascular ischemia and possibly with neuropathy in type 2 diabetes. So, appreciation of the true incidence of orthostatic hypertension, elucidation of the underlying pathophysiology, and an understanding of potentially effective treatment approaches and their associated risks and benefits might all have major clinical significance. Orthostatic hypertension is an aspect of hypertension that is in need of further focused investigation.

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The authors are supported by PHS Grants NIH MO1 RR00095, 5P01 HL56693 and R01 HL71784.

Author information


  1. J Fessel is an intern in the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt University, and D Robertson is the Elton Yates Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology and Neurology, and Director of the General Clinical Research Center at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA.

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    •  & David Robertson


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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to David Robertson.