The international POTS registry: Evaluating the efficacy of an exercise training intervention in a community setting

Stephen A. George, Tiffany B. Bivens, Erin J. Howden, Yasir Saleem, M. Melyn Galbreath, Dianne Hendrickson, Qi Fu, Benjamin D Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Background: Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) affects primarily young women and impairs quality of life. We found that in a research setting, exercise training along with lifestyle intervention is effective as a nondrug therapy for POTS. Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of our exercise training/lifestyle intervention in POTS patients in a community environment. Methods: We established a POTS registry and enrolled 251 patients (86% women, aged 26 ± 11 [SD] years) through their physicians. A 3-month program involving mild- to moderate-intensity endurance training (progressing from semirecumbent to upright, 3-5 times/wk, 30-45 min/session) plus strength training was implemented along with increasing salt/water intake. The program was delivered to the physicians, who oversaw training in their patients. A 10-minute stand test was performed at the physician's office and patient quality of life was assessed using the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey. Results: One hundred and three patients completed the program. Of those that completed, 71% no longer qualified for POTS and were thus in remission. The increase in heart rate from supine to 10-minute stand was markedly lower (23 ± 14 vs 46 ± 17 beats/min before intervention; P <.001), while patient quality of life was improved dramatically after intervention (P <.001). Of those who were followed for 6-12 months (n = 31), the effect was persistent. Conclusions: A training/lifestyle intervention program can be implemented in a community setting with physician supervision and is effective in the treatment of POTS. It remains to be determined whether exercise can be an effective long-term treatment strategy for this condition, though patients are encouraged to maintain an active lifestyle indefinitely.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHeart Rhythm
StateAccepted/In press - 2016


  • Exercise training
  • Lifestyle intervention
  • Orthostatic intolerance
  • Quality of life
  • Tachycardia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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