Nonpharmacologic Management of Orthostatic Hypotension in Older People: A Systematic Review. The SENATOR ONTOP Series

Selvarani Subbarayan (Corresponding Author), Phyo K. Myint, Kathryn R. Martin, Iosief Abraha, Sirjana Devkota, Denis O’Mahony, Alfonso J. Cruz-Jentoft, Antonio Cherubini, Roy L. Soiza

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Nonpharmacologic therapies are often recommended as a first-line treatment for orthostatic hypotension (OH). However, the true effect of nonpharmacologic therapy remains unclear, particularly in the older population. We undertook a systematic review evaluating the efficacy of nonpharmacologic interventions in older people with OH to provide evidence-based recommendations.

Systematic review of systematic reviews.

Setting and Participants
MEDLINE, PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, CINHAL, and PsycINFO were searched up to June 2018. Two reviewers identified eligible systematic reviews from which primary studies were selected. We included both randomized and nonrandomized studies that evaluated any type of nonpharmacologic intervention and reported outcomes of change in postural drop in systolic blood pressure (SBP) and/or orthostatic symptoms measured using any validated instrument. The Cochrane risk of bias tool was used, with recommendations based on the GRADE approach.

Eleven trials were included. Meta-analysis of lower limb compression showed a reduction in the postural drop in SBP of 9.83 mmHg [95% confidence interval (CI) −12.56, −7.11], whereas abdominal compression showed a larger reduction in postural drop in SBP of 12.30 mmHg (95% CI –18.20, −6.39). Compression therapy was also beneficial in reducing OH symptoms. However, the quality of the evidence for compression therapy was very poor. One study each was identified for sleeping with head-up (SHU), home-based resistance training (HBRT), and multicomponent intervention but did not significantly reduce postural SBP drop. Bolus water drinking was effective in 1 study but the study was of low quality.

There is no high-quality evidence to recommend any of the nonpharmacologic therapies for the management of OH in older people. Yet, we make a weak recommendation for lower limb and abdominal compression therapy based on very low quality evidence. Large-scale trials are warranted in older people to substantiate the efficacy of nonpharmacologic therapies in OH.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1065-1073.e3
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Issue number9
Early online date17 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019


  • Orthostatic hypotension
  • postural hypotension
  • orthostasis
  • non-pharmacological therapy
  • older people
  • nonpharmacologic therapy


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