Exercise and non-pharmacological treatment of POTS

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent research has demonstrated that cardiovascular deconditioning (i.e., cardiac atrophy and hypovolemia) contributes significantly to the Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) and its functional disability. Therefore, physical reconditioning with exercise training and volume expansion via increased salt and fluid intake should be initiated early in the course of treatment for patients with POTS if possible. The use of horizontal exercise (e.g., rowing, swimming, recumbent bike, etc.) at the beginning is a critical strategy, allowing patients to exercise while avoiding the upright posture that elicits their POTS symptoms. As patients become increasingly fit, the duration and intensity of exercise should be progressively increased, and upright exercise can be gradually added as tolerated. Supervised training is preferable to maximize functional capacity. Other non-pharmacological interventions, which include: 1) chronic volume expansion via sleeping in the head-up position; 2) reduction in venous pooling during orthostasis by lower body compression garments extending at least to the xiphoid or with an abdominal binder; and 3) physical countermeasure maneuvers, such as squeezing a rubber ball, leg crossing, muscle pumping, squatting, negative-pressure breathing, etc., may also be effective in preventing orthostatic intolerance and managing acute clinical symptoms in POTS patients. However, randomized clinical trials are needed to evaluate the efficacies of these non-pharmacological treatments of POTS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAutonomic Neuroscience: Basic and Clinical
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

Keywords

  • Deconditioning
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Physical activity
  • Physical countermeasures
  • Venous pooling
  • Volume expansion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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