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A Prospective, 1-Year Follow-up Study of Postural Tachycardia Syndrome



      To prospectively evaluate patients who met standard criteria for postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS), at baseline and 1-year follow-up, using standard clinical and laboratory methods to assess autonomic function.


      Fifty-eight patients met the study criteria (orthostatic symptoms and a heart rate increment of ≥30 beats/min on head-up tilt) and completed 12 months of follow-up. All patients were enrolled and completed the study from January 16, 2006, through April 15, 2009. Patients underwent standardized autonomic testing, including head-up tilt, clinical assessment, and validated questionnaires designed to determine the severity of autonomic symptoms.


      Patients were predominantly young females (n=49, 84%), with 20 patients (34%) reporting an antecedent viral infection before onset of symptoms. More than one-third (37%) no longer fulfilled tilt criteria for POTS on follow-up, although heart rate increment on head-up tilt did not differ significantly at 1 year (33.8±15.1 beats/min) compared with baseline (37.8±14.6 beats/min) for the entire cohort. Orthostatic symptoms improved in most patients. Autonomic dysfunction was mild as defined by a Composite Autonomic Severity Score of 3 or less in 55 patients (95%) at baseline and 48 patients (92%) at 1 year.


      To our knowledge, this is the first prospective study of the clinical outcomes of patients with POTS. Orthostatic symptoms improved in our patients, with more than one-third of patients no longer fulfilling tilt criteria for POTS, although the overall group change in heart rate increment was modest. Our data are in keeping with a relatively favorable prognosis in most patients with POTS.

      Abbreviations and Acronyms:

      CASS (Composite Autonomic Severity Score), COMPASS (Composite Autonomic Symptom Score), HUT (head-up tilt), POTS (postural tachycardia syndrome)
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