EHS
EHS

‘Normal’ blood pressure: too good to be true? Case series on postural syncope and the ‘white-coat’ effect

Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) can confirm diagnosis in essential hypertension (HTN) and mitigate the ‘white-coat’ effect, preventing erroneous antihypertensive therapy. We aimed to collect a case series of over-treated hypertension in the context of ‘white-coat’ effect, resulting in pre-syncopal or syncopal episodes. We collected data retrospectively from patients presenting to syncope clinic between January 2016 and March 2017. ABPM was used at baseline and repeated at three months, following withdrawal of one or more antihypertensive agents.

There were 39 patients with orthostatic symptoms of syncope/pre-syncope, previous HTN diagnosis and ‘white-coat’ effect included. Reducing antihypertensive therapy increased daytime ABPM (baseline vs. three months: systolic 119 ± 11 vs. 128 ± 8 mmHg, p<0.05; diastolic 70 ± 9 vs. 76 ± 9 mmHg, p<0.05) and resolved symptoms.

In conclusion, some patients exhibit pre-syncope or syncope due to over/erroneous HTN treatment resulting in orthostatic hypotension. Our findings suggest that reducing antihypertensive medications may resolve symptoms, without rendering them hypertensive.

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