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Acceptability of non-drug therapies in older people with orthostatic hypotension: a qualitative study

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Lisa Robinson, Ruth Pearce, Dr James FrithORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2018 The Author(s). Background: Orthostatic hypotension (OH) is highly prevalent in older populations. It is associated with a reduced quality of life and an increased risk of dementia, stroke and death. Non-pharmalogical therapies are the recommended first-line therapy and are preferred to drug treatments by older people. However, uptake and adherence is low and evidence for their use is lacking. Objective: Determine the acceptability of non-pharmalogical interventions for OH in older people. Methods: This qualitative study, nested within a phase II efficacy study, recruited 25 people aged over 60 years from a Falls and Syncope Clinic. All participants had experienced the following non-pharmalogical therapies within a phase II study: bolus water drinking, compression stockings, abdominal compression, physical counter-manoeuvres. Individual semi-structured qualitative interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Emergent themes were identified through framework analysis of transcripts. Results: Physical counter-manoeuvres were considered the most acceptable therapy as no equipment is required, they can be performed discreetly and are only required during postural change. Bolus water drinking was mostly considered as an acceptable therapy, although there were significant concerns around urinary frequency. The idea of bolus water drinking was a barrier to its uptake, but once experienced it was easier than anticipated. Participants had mixed views on acceptability of abdominal compression whereas compression stockings were considered unacceptable by the majority of participants. This was due to the practicalities of applying/removing the compression and the stigma attached to their appearance. Conclusions: Current first-line treatment with compression stockings is largely unacceptable to older people with OH, challenging current guidelines. In order to promote uptake and adherence, first line therapy should focus on bolus-water drinking and physical counter-manoeuvres.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Robinson LJ, Pearce RM, Frith J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: BMC Geriatrics

Year: 2018

Volume: 18

Issue: 1

Online publication date: 17/12/2018

Acceptance date: 28/11/2018

Date deposited: 03/01/2019

ISSN (electronic): 1471-2318

Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.


DOI: 10.1186/s12877-018-0999-5

PubMed id: 30558552


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