, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 29-33

Hemodynamic and symptomatic effects of acute interventions on tilt in patients with postural tachycardia syndrome

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Abstract

A variety of approaches have been used to alleviate symptoms in postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS). Drugs reported to be of benefit include midodrine, propranolol, clonidine, and phenobarbital. Other measures used include volume expansion and physical countermaneuvers. These treatments may influence pathophysiologic mechanisms of POTS such as α-receptor dysfunction, β-receptor supersensitivity, venous pooling, and brainstem center dysfunction. The authors prospectively studied hemodynamic indices and symptom scores in patients with POTS who were acutely treated with a variety of interventions. Twenty-one subjects who met the criteria for POTS were studied (20 women, 1 man; mean age, 28.7±6.8 y; age range, 14–39 y). Patients were studied with a 5-minute headup tilt protocol, ECG monitoring, and noninvasive beat-to-beat blood pressure monitoring, all before and after the administration of an intervention (intravenous saline, midodrine, propranolol, clonidine, or phenobarbital). The hemodynamic indices studied were heart rate (ECG) and systolic, mean, and diastolic blood pressure. Patients used a balanced verbal scale to record any change in their symptoms between the tilts. Symptom scores improved significantly after the patients received midodrine and saline. Midodrine and propranolol reduced the resting heart rate response to tilt (p<0.005) and the immediate and 5-minute heart rate responses to tilt (p<0.002). Clonidine accentuated the immediate decrease in blood pressure on tilt up (p<0.05). It was concluded that midodrine and intravenous saline are effective in decreasing symptoms on tilt in patients with POTS when given acutely. Effects of treatments on heart rate and blood pressure responses generally reflected the known pharmacologic mechanisms of the agents.