Characterization of the symptoms of neurogenic orthostatic hypotension and their impact from a survey of patients and caregivers

Daniel O. Claassen, Charles H. Adler, L. Arthur Hewitt, Christopher Gibbons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: Neurogenic orthostatic hypotension (nOH) results from impaired vasoconstriction due to dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system and is commonly associated with Parkinson disease (PD), multiple system atrophy (MSA), and pure autonomic failure. nOH can increase the risk of falls due to symptoms that include postural lightheadedness or dizziness, presyncope, and syncope. The purpose of this study was to obtain information from patients and caregivers regarding the symptoms and burden of nOH to expand on limited knowledge regarding the impact of nOH on quality of life. Methods: This author-designed survey included questions regarding nOH (e.g., frequency and impact of symptoms, management) and was conducted online by Harris Poll via distribution to individuals who agreed to participate in Harris Poll online surveys or who were members of relevant disease advocacy organizations. Eligible patients were aged≥18years with PD, MSA, or pure autonomic failure and≥1 of the following: orthostatic hypotension (OH), nOH, low blood pressure upon standing, or OH/nOH symptoms. Eligible caregivers cared for such patients but were not necessarily linked to any patient participant. Results: Survey responses were received from 363 patients and 128 caregivers. PD was the most frequent underlying disorder (90% of patients; 88% of individuals managed by the caregivers). Despite meeting survey diagnosis criteria, a formal diagnosis of OH or nOH was reported by only 36% of patients and 16% of caregivers. The most frequent symptoms of nOH were dizziness or lightheadedness, fatigue when standing, and difficulty walking. A negative impact on patient quality of life caused by nOH symptoms was reported by 59% of patients and 75% of caregivers. Most respondents (≥87%) reported that nOH symptoms adversely affected patients' ability to perform everyday activities (most frequently physical activity/exercise, housework, and traveling). Falls (≥1) in the previous year due to nOH symptoms were reported by 57% of patients and 80% of caregivers. Conclusions: These survey results support the premise that nOH symptoms have a substantial negative impact on patient function and quality of life. The relatively low rates of formal nOH/OH diagnosis suggest the need for heightened awareness regarding the condition and its symptom burden.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number125
JournalBMC neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 25 2018


  • Disease burden
  • Multiple system atrophy
  • Neurogenic orthostatic hypotension
  • Parkinson disease
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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