Introduction: It is not clear if patients with postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS) and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (hEDS) differ from patients with POTS due to other etiologies. We compared the results of autonomic testing and healthcare utilization in POTS patients with and without hEDS.
Methods: Patients with POTS+hEDS (n=20) and POTS controls without hypermobility (n=20) were included in the study. All patients underwent autonomic testing, and the electronic medical records were reviewed to determine the number and types of medications patients were taking, as well as the number of outpatient, emergency department, and inpatient visits over the prior year.
Results: Patients with hEDS had twice as many outpatient visits (21 v. 10, p=0.012), were taking more prescription medications (8 vs. 5.5, p=0.030), and were more likely to see a pain physician (70% vs 25%, p=0.005). Autonomic testing demonstrated a slight reduction in heart rate variability and slightly lower blood pressures on tilt table testing in hEDS patients, however for most patients these variables remained within the range of normal. Orthostatic tachycardia on tilt table testing was greater in POTS controls (46bpm vs 39bpm, p=0.018). Abnormal QSweat responses were common in both groups (38% of POTS+hEDS and 36% of POTS controls).
Conclusions: While autonomic testing results were not significantly different between groups, patients with POTS+hEDS took more medications and had greater markers of healthcare utilization, with chronic pain likely playing a prominent role.
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