Canadian Cardiovascular Society Position Statement on Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) and Related Disorders of Chronic Orthostatic Intolerance

Can J Cardiol. 2020 Mar;36(3):357-372. doi: 10.1016/j.cjca.2019.12.024.


The current definition of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) dates back to a small case series of patients with a subacute illness who presented with excessive orthostatic tachycardia and orthostatic intolerance, in the absence of another recognized disease. Conventional POTS criteria require an excessive orthostatic tachycardia in the absence of substantial orthostatic hypotension, and predominant symptoms of orthostatic intolerance, worse with upright posture and better with recumbence. POTS is a heterogeneous syndrome with likely several underlying pathophysiological processes, and not a specific disease. The primary panel for this Canadian Cardiovascular Society position statement sought to provide a contemporary update of the best evidence for the evaluation and treatment of POTS. We performed a systemic review of evidence for the evaluation of treatment of POTS using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) methodology, and developed recommendations on the basis of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society approach to position statements. One identified problem was that numerous patients who did not meet criteria for POTS would still be given that diagnoses by providers to validate the illness even though this diagnosis is incorrect. This includes patients with postural symptoms without tachycardia, orthostatic tachycardia without symptoms, and those with orthostatic tachycardia but another overt cause for excessive tachycardia. We developed a novel nomenclature ecosystem for orthostatic intolerance syndromes to increase clarity. We also provide more clarity on how to interpret the orthostatic vital signs. These concepts will need to be prospectively assessed.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Orthostatic Intolerance / complications
  • Orthostatic Intolerance / diagnosis
  • Orthostatic Intolerance / therapy
  • Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome / therapy*