• ageing;
  • blood pressure;
  • hypotension;
  • myocardial infarction;
  • orthostatic hypotension


Objectives.  We investigated the prognostic significance of orthostatic hypotension on the risk of myocardial infarction (MI) amongst the elderly.

Design.  Prospective population-based study. 

Setting.  Home-dwelling population.

Subjects.  Orthostatic testing was performed between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., irrespective of having had meals, on 792 persons, representing 82% of all home-dwelling persons aged ≥70 years living in five municipalities around the city of Oulu.

Main outcome measures.  Occurrence of cases of MI were recorded during mean 3.58 (SD 1.09) years follow-up period, from national mortality statistics and local hospital discharge registers.

Results.  Ninety cases of MI, of which 40 were fatal after initial hospitalization, occurred during the follow-up period. Orthostatic diastolic blood pressure (BP) drop 1 min after standing up was associated with subsequent MI, but systolic BP reactions had no predictive value. According to the Cox regression model, the strongest predictor of the occurrence of subsequent MI was found in regard to ≥8 mmHg drop in diastolic BP 1 min after standing up; adjusted for history of MI, diabetes mellitus, chest pain, use of calcium antagonist, β-blocker, nitrate and diuretic medication, hazard ratio of MI being 2.00 (1.11–3.59).

Conclusions.  Orthostatic testing offers a novel means to assess the risk of MI amongst elderly persons. Diastolic BP drop immediately after standing up identifies elderly subjects at a high risk of subsequent MI.