The postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome: a neurocardiogenic variant identified during head-up tilt table testing

Pacing Clin Electrophysiol. 1997 Sep;20(9 Pt 1):2205-12. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-8159.1997.tb04238.x.


Head upright tilt table testing has emerged as an accepted modality for identifying an individual's predisposition to episodes of autonomically mediated hypotension and bradycardia that are sufficiently profound so that transient loss of consciousness ensues (neurocardiogenic syncope). However it has also become apparent that less dramatic falls in blood pressure, while not sufficient to cause full syncope, may produce symptoms such as near syncope, vertigo, dizziness, and TIA-like episodes. We have identified a subgroup of individuals with a mild form of autonomic dysfunction with symptoms of postural tachycardia and lightheadedness, disabling fatigue, exercise intolerance, dizziness, and near syncope. During baseline tilt table testing these patients demonstrated a heart rate increase of > or = 30 beats/min (or a maximum heart rate of 120 beats/min) within the first 10 minutes upright (unassociated with profound hypotension), which reproduced their symptom complex. In addition these patients exhibit an exaggerated response to isoproterenol infusions. Similar observations have been made by others who have dubbed this entity the Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). We conclude that POTS represents a mild (and potentially treatable) from of autonomic dysfunction that can be readily diagnosed during head upright tilt table testing.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Atenolol / therapeutic use
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy
  • Erythropoietin / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Fludrocortisone / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Posture / physiology
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Syncope, Vasovagal / diagnosis*
  • Syncope, Vasovagal / drug therapy
  • Tachycardia / diagnosis*
  • Tachycardia / drug therapy
  • Tilt-Table Test


  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Erythropoietin
  • Atenolol
  • Fludrocortisone