The international POTS registry: Evaluating the efficacy of an exercise training intervention in a community setting

Heart Rhythm. 2016 Apr;13(4):943-50. doi: 10.1016/j.hrthm.2015.12.012. Epub 2015 Dec 9.


Background: Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) affects primarily young women and impairs quality of life. We found that in a research setting, exercise training along with lifestyle intervention is effective as a nondrug therapy for POTS.

Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of our exercise training/lifestyle intervention in POTS patients in a community environment.

Methods: We established a POTS registry and enrolled 251 patients (86% women, aged 26 ± 11 [SD] years) through their physicians. A 3-month program involving mild- to moderate-intensity endurance training (progressing from semirecumbent to upright, 3-5 times/wk, 30-45 min/session) plus strength training was implemented along with increasing salt/water intake. The program was delivered to the physicians, who oversaw training in their patients. A 10-minute stand test was performed at the physician's office and patient quality of life was assessed using the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey.

Results: One hundred and three patients completed the program. Of those that completed, 71% no longer qualified for POTS and were thus in remission. The increase in heart rate from supine to 10-minute stand was markedly lower (23 ± 14 vs. 46 ± 17 beats/min before intervention; P < .001), while patient quality of life was improved dramatically after intervention (P < .001). Of those who were followed for 6-12 months (n = 31), the effect was persistent.

Conclusions: A training/lifestyle intervention program can be implemented in a community setting with physician supervision and is effective in the treatment of POTS. It remains to be determined whether exercise can be an effective long-term treatment strategy for this condition, though patients are encouraged to maintain an active lifestyle indefinitely.

Keywords: Exercise training; Lifestyle intervention; Orthostatic intolerance; Quality of life; Tachycardia.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome / therapy*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Registries*
  • Tilt-Table Test
  • Treatment Outcome