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Exertional hypotension due to postganglionic sympathetic blocking drugs.
  1. S. Talbot,
  2. G. W. Gill


    Debrisoquine, guanethidine and bethanidine may produce troublesome hypotensive symtoms related to exertion. Thirteen patients with such symptoms were exercised on a treadmill and the response of blood pressure and heart rate was compared to that of thirty patients without these symptoms, who were exercised to the same extent. There was a slight drop of systolic and diastolic pressures on standing in both groups, but after exertion there was a significantly greater drop of systolic pressure in the group with symptoms than in the asymptomatic group. The diastolic pressure after exertion was significantly lower in the group with symptoms. It was impossible to predict from the standing blood pressure levels at rest which patients would develop hypotensive symptoms after exertion. All three drugs had a similar negative chronotropic effect at rest and on exercise. It is suggested that patients are exercised during control of hypertension in order to identify those prone to exertional hypotension. Patients with such hypotension should be exercised on each attendance before the blood pressure is measured. Treatment other than postganglionic sympathetic blocking drugs should be employed whenever possible in patients with milder hypertension.

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