Blood Pressure Associates with Standing Balance in Elderly Outpatients

Objectives

Assessment of the association of blood pressure measurements in supine and standing position after a postural change, as a proxy for blood pressure regulation, with standing balance in a clinically relevant cohort of elderly, is of special interest as blood pressure may be important to identify patients at risk of having impaired standing balance in routine geriatric assessment.

Materials and Methods

In a cross-sectional cohort study, 197 community-dwelling elderly referred to a geriatric outpatient clinic of a middle-sized teaching hospital were included. Blood pressure was measured intermittently (n = 197) and continuously (subsample, n = 58) before and after a controlled postural change from supine to standing position. The ability to maintain standing balance was assessed during ten seconds of side-by-side, semi-tandem and tandem stance, with both eyes open and eyes closed. Self-reported impaired standing balance and history of falls were recorded by questionnaires. Logistic regression analyses were used to examine the association between blood pressure and 1) the ability to maintain standing balance; 2) self-reported impaired standing balance; and 3) history of falls, adjusted for age and sex.

Results

Blood pressure decrease after postural change, measured continuously, was associated with reduced ability to maintain standing balance in semi-tandem stance with eyes closed and with increased self-reported impaired standing balance and falls. Presence of orthostatic hypotension was associated with reduced ability to maintain standing balance in semi-tandem stance with eyes closed for both intermittent and continuous measurements and with increased self-reported impaired standing balance for continuous measurements.

Conclusion

Continuous blood pressure measurements are of additional value to identify patients at risk of having impaired standing balance and may therefore be useful in routine geriatric care.