Objectives: To quantify quality of life and identify demographic and clinical correlates of functioning in a well-characterized sample of patients with postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS).
Patients and methods: Prospective patients were those seen at the Mayo Clinic Autonomic Disorders Laboratory from September 2000 to June 2001. Neurologists made diagnoses of POTS according to established criteria. Patients completed a questionnaire packet that included measures of quality of life (36-Item Short-Form Health Survey [SF-36]) and symptom severity (Autonomic Symptom Profile). Additional clinical information was abstracted from medical records.
Results: Ninety-four patients (89% female; mean age, 34.2 years) were enrolled in the study. Patients with POTS reported impairment across multiple domains on the SF-36. Physical functioning, role functioning, bodily pain, general health, vitality, and social functioning were all significantly impaired compared with a healthy population (P<.01 for all) and similar to that reported by patients with other chronic, disabling conditions. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that symptom severity (beta = -.36, P<.001) and disability status (beta = -36, P<.001) were independent predictors of SF-36 physical component scores, with the full model accounting for 54% of the variance (P<.001). None of the variables examined accounted for a significant amount of the variance in SF-36 mental component scores.
Conclusions: Patients with POTS experience clear limitations across multiple domains of quality of life, including physical, social, and role functioning. Treatment should address the multiple and varied impairments experienced by these patients and may require a multidisciplinary approach. Future research must further delineate factors, both disease related and psychosocial, that predict functioning and adjustment in this population.