Risks of adverse events in patients with orthostatic intolerance undergoing surgery with general anesthesia

Clin Auton Res. 2021 Apr;31(2):231-237. doi: 10.1007/s10286-020-00697-y. Epub 2020 May 17.


Introduction: Orthostatic intolerance (OI) is a group of disorders characterized by symptoms that occur upon standing and resolve with recumbence. Although well established but not widely recognized, these diagnoses may create uncertainty for clinicians dealing with a patient affected by OI and requiring a surgical procedure.

Objectives: To determine the rate of intra- and postoperative major adverse events in patients with OI undergoing surgery with general anesthesia.

Methods: The study was a retrospective study of patients with orthostatic intolerance who underwent surgery requiring general anesthesia from 1 January 2000 to 31 December 2018.

Results: A total 171 patients with OI underwent 190 surgeries. In patients with POTS and orthostatic-induced VVS, there were no major significant adverse events. There was one episode of AVNRT in a patient with POTS and one episode of bradycardia secondary to vasovagal reflex in a patient with orthostatic-induced VVS. Moreover, there were 13 (6.8%) episodes of postoperative hypotension. However, the majority of these episodes were related to bleeding, volume depletion or sepsis. All cases of hypotension responded well to appropriate therapy. In patients with OH, the rate of postoperative major adverse cardiac events was 4.7%, and the 30-day mortality rate was 6.1%. This is not significantly different from the calculated risk for patients without OH. There were no myocardial infarctions or deaths at 30 days in patients with POTS or orthostatic-induced VVS.

Conclusion: Patients with OI may not experience higher rates of perioperative complications compared with patients without OI syndromes.

Keywords: Anesthesia; Orthostatic intolerance; POTS; Surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia, General / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Hypotension, Orthostatic* / epidemiology
  • Hypotension, Orthostatic* / etiology
  • Orthostatic Intolerance* / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies