PURPOSE: The average adult stands approximately 50-60 times per day. Cardiovascular responses evoked during the first 3 min of active standing provide a simple means to clinically assess short-term neural and cardiovascular function across the lifespan. Clinically, this response is used to identify the haemodynamic correlates of patient symptoms and attributable causes of (pre-)syncope, and to detect autonomic dysfunction, variants of orthostatic hypotension, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome and orthostatic hypertension.
METHODS: This paper provides a set of experience/expertise-based recommendations detailing current state-of-the-art measurement and analysis approaches for the active stand test, focusing on beat-to-beat BP technologies. This information is targeted at those interested in performing and interpreting the active stand test to current international standards.
RESULTS: This paper presents a practical step-by-step guide on (1) how to perform active stand measurements using beat-to-beat continuous blood pressure measurement technologies, (2) how to conduct an analysis of the active stand response and (3) how to identify the spectrum of abnormal blood pressure and heart rate responses which are of clinical interest.
CONCLUSION: Impairments in neurocardiovascular control are an attributable cause of falls and syncope across the lifespan. The simple active stand test provides the clinician with a powerful tool for assessing individuals at risk of such common disorders. However, its simplicity belies the complexity of its interpretation. Care must therefore be taken in administering and interpreting the test in order to maximise its clinical benefit and minimise its misinterpretation.