Effects of exercise training on arterial-cardiac baroreflex function in POTS

M. Melyn Galbreath, Shigeki Shibata, Tiffany B. VanGundy, Kazunobu Okazaki, Qi Fu, Benjamin D Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Purpose Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is characterized by excessive tachycardia in the upright position. To test the hypothesis that patients with POTS have impaired arterial-cardiac baroreflex function, while exercise training normalizes the baroreflex function in these patients. Methods Seventeen POTS patients aged 27 ± 9 (mean ± SD) years underwent an exercise training program for 3 months. Arterial-cardiac baroreflex function was assessed by spectral and transfer function analysis of beat-tobeat R-R interval (RRI) and systolic blood pressure (SBP) variability in the supine position and at 60° upright tilt during spontaneous breathing before and after training. Data were compared with 17 healthy sedentary controls. Results Even though upright heart rate (HR) was greater in patients than controls, indexes of RRI variability did not differ between groups. Transfer function gain (SBP toRRI), used as an index of arterial-cardiac baroreflex sensitivity was similar between patients and controls in bothlow- (LF, P = 0.470) and high-frequency (HF, P = 0.663) ranges. Short-term exercise training decreased upright HR and increased RRI variability in POTS patients. LF baroreflex gain increased significantly in the supine position and during upright tilt [analysis of variance (ANOVA), P = 0.04 for training], while HF gain increased modestly after training (ANOVA, P = 0.105 for training) in these patients; however, the baroreflex gains remained within the normal ranges when compared with healthy controls. Conclusions These data suggest that patients with POTS have normal arterial-cardiac baroreflex function in both supine and upright postures. Short-term exercise training increases the baroreflex sensitivity in these patients, associated with a decrease in upright heart rate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-80
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Autonomic Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2011


  • Arterial pressure
  • Baroreflex function
  • Orthostatic intolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Clinical Neurology


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