Excessive Postural Tachycardia and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome in Youth: Associations With Distress, Impairment, Health Behaviors, and Medication Recommendations

J Child Neurol. 2022 Jun;37(7):599-608. doi: 10.1177/08830738221078410. Epub 2022 May 18.


Among adolescents with fatigue and postural dizziness, it is unclear how health behaviors and emotional distress relate to the presence of excessive postural tachycardia. We prospectively evaluated adolescents aged 13-22 years presenting with symptoms suggestive of autonomic dysfunction between September 2017 and December 2018. Patients underwent standard 10-minute, 70-degree head-up tilt testing. Clinician diagnoses and recommendations were recorded from the medical record. Patients completed validated self-report measures of lifestyle factors, autonomic symptoms, depression, anxiety, and functional disability. Of 179 patients, 58 were diagnosed with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome and 59 had excessive postural tachycardia, with 90.5% concordance between the 2 groups. Presence of excessive postural tachycardia was associated with greater baseline fluid intake and likelihood of medication prescription in their treatment plan. Medication findings were replicated for postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome diagnosis. Presence of excessive postural tachycardia or postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome did not differentiate patients on perceived symptom severity, emotional distress, disability, or health behaviors but did appear to determine treatment recommendations.

Keywords: POTS; adolescent; autonomic dysfunction; functional impairment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Fatigue
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome*
  • Tachycardia / complications
  • Tilt-Table Test