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Circadian Variation Of Blood Pressure In Autonomic Failure.

S Mann, D G Altman, E B Raftery, R Bannister

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We have monitored ambulant intra-arterial blood pressure with the Oxford system in six subjects with autonomic failure who exhibited postural hypotension. Plotting pooled hourly mean values we have demonstrated a consistent circadian trend in blood pressure that was the inverse of the normal pattern, with the highest pressures at night and the lowest in the morning. In four subjects, confinement to bed did not substantially alter this pattern. Heart rate variability was much reduced in four of the subjects, but relatively normal in two in whom blood pressure variation was also less abnormal. There was a correlation of the nadir of the blood pressure measurements with the reported time of peak incidence of orthostatic symptoms. These findings are of importance in both the management and physiologic testing of patients with this condition.