Paroxysmal hypotension associated with sympathetic withdrawal. A new disorder of autonomic vasomotor regulation.
We evaluated a patient who had transient episodes of hypotension with clinical and laboratory features apparently distinct from previously recognized disorders of vasomotor regulation. In between his abrupt attacks of hypotension, the patient is asymptomatic and demonstrates normal autonomic modulation of heart rate and blood pressure in response to changes in body position, Valsalva maneuver, cold, and exercise. During periods of hypotension, his plasma norepinephrine falls markedly and he has blunted or absent responses to stimuli that normally have a pressor effect due to sympathetic efferent discharge. Mechanical or known hormonal disorders that produce episodic hypotension have been excluded by extensive testing. We suggest two possible causes for our patient's paroxysmal sympathetic withdrawal: first, a centrally mediated inhibition of sympathetic discharge to peripheral resistance and capacitance vessels, but with no afferent stimulus reflexly producing sympathetic withdrawal readily evident; or second, an episodic release of an unknown endogenous compound with inhibitory effects upon central or preganglionic sympathetic neurons or upon postganglionic sympathetic neurons by a presynaptic inhibition of norepinephrine release.
Williams, RS; Bashore, TM
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