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American Journal of the Medical Sciences:
Orthostatic Intolerance And Postural Tachycardia Symposium

Orthostatic Intolerance. A Historical Introduction to the Pathophysiological Mechanisms

STREETEN, DAVID H. P. MB, DPhil, FRCP, FACP

Section Editor(s): Robertson, David MD

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Abstract

Several of the pathophysiological mechanisms resulting in orthostatic intolerance (ie, tachycardia) have been recognized individually over the course of the past 100 years or more. More recent definitions of the normal ranges of orthostatic blood pressure and heart rate changes have facilitated the recognition of pathogenetic disorders that are probably shared in various proportions between orthostatic intolerance and various types of orthostatic hypotension. These include autonomic dysfunction of (1) the leg veins almost invariably causing excessive gravitational blood pooling, usually associated with (2) hypovolemia of circulating erythrocytes and plasma that is probably attributable to impaired autonomic stimulation of erythropoietin production, renin release, and (less consistently) aldosterone secretion. Improved understanding of these apparent results of lower body dysautonomia should facilitate more effective therapy in the future.

© Copyright 1999 Southern Society for Clinical Investigation

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