Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) / Orthostatic Intolerance Research


Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is the term used to describe a set of symptoms that impact over a million individuals throughout the country. POTS is not likely a single disorder, but rather a description of symptoms that likely have multiple underlying causes.  In many ways this classification is more like an umbrella that covers a diverse group of individuals who tend to exhibit similar symptoms but with numerous underlying causal mechanisms. Since little is currently known about how these underlying mechanisms work, much of the therapy is aimed at treating symptoms, determining testing methods as well as establishing effective treatment plans.

As you review the medical literature, you will find a vast array of terminology that is used to describe the same basic condition. Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), Chronic Orthostatic Intolerance, Mitral Valve Prolapse Syndrome as well as Idiopathic Orthostatic Intolerance are all terms that are interchangeably used by physicians. The result for the patient can be multiple labels being used to describe the same condition - a dysfunction with your autonomic nervous system.  

In the past few years, there have been a few rare findings identifying genetic mechanisms as the underlying cause of POTS for several families.  Additionally, researchers have also described an autonomic autoimmune condition for a very small number of patients exhibiting POTS symptoms.  These findings may point the way to future research discoveries.

As you view these journal articles keep in mind that research findings often may point to conflicting results. A single study's results may not be able to be duplicated, or may be contradicted by results from another study.  Generalizations are very hard to make, and for the most part, a highly individualized therapy program has to be designed for each patient.  


Below you will find links to full text articles that are available for download or for viewing.  Keep in mind that this research is intended for a medical professional audience, and may not be easily understood without consultation with your physician.  Also, there are numerous medical journals that publish medical research, each with its own set of standards of review and acceptance.  What one journal will accept may have been rejected by several other journals as not meeting peer scrutiny.  

You should speak to your physician before making any judgments based upon this information.

Review Articles

Below are links to full text review articles that discuss the autonomic nervous system and orthostatic intolerance.  Click on the hyperlink to open up a PDF file.  You will need to have Adobe's free Reader program installed in order to view these files. 


The Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS): Pathophysiology, Diagnosis & Management.
Indian Pacing Electrophysiol J. 2006 Apr 1;6(2):84-99. 

Neurocardiogenic syncope and related disorders of orthostatic intolerance.
Circulation. 2005 Jun 7;111(22):2997-3006. Review.

Dysautonomias: clinical disorders of the autonomic nervous system.
Ann Intern Med. 2002 Nov 5;137(9):753-63. Review.

Orthostatic intolerance and tachycardia associated with norepinephrine-transporter deficiency.
N Engl J Med. 2000 Feb 24;342(8):541-9. 

Clinical disorders of the autonomic nervous system associated with orthostatic intolerance: an overview of classification, clinical evaluation, and management.
Pacing Clin Electrophysiol. 1999 May;22(5):798-810. Review

Free Full Text Abstracts

The following links provide access to journal articles on OI from the National Library of Medicine's PubMed database of medical research.  By clicking on the hyperlink,  you will be directed to the NLM web site where you can access the abstract.  Use the "Full Text" link to open the full article in your browser window.  Most articles have a PDF version available for downloading, saving or printing.  If you are looking for additional information or articles that provide abstracts only, please visit the NLM web site.

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