[Anxiety in patients with postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS)].

Research paper by C C Wagner, S S Isenmann, H H Ringendahl, C-A CA Haensch

Indexed on: 14 Jun '12Published on: 14 Jun '12Published in: Fortschritte der Neurologie-Psychiatrie


The postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is a condition of the autonomic nervous system with symptoms of orthostatic intolerance. In POTS patients, orthostatic stress leads to an overshoot of heart rate increase without a fall in blood pressure. The purpose of this study is to distinguish between anxiety disorders and anxiety as a concomitant phenomenon of orthostatic stress.50 patients fulfilling the diagnostic criteria (orthostatic symptoms, heart rate increase of > 30 bpm or up to > 120 bpm by testing with tilt-table) were included. The study design included a thorough medical history as well as standardised questionnaires about anxiety.The average heart rate increase was 36 bpm after ten minutes of standing and 42 bpm after maximal standing time (max. 45 minutes). POTS patients scored significantly higher than a comparison group in a range of anxiety disorders by using anxiety questionnaires like "Beck Angst-Inventar" (BAI) and trait test of "State-Traits-Angstinventar" which include autonomic items. When questionnaires were used that exclude autonomic items (anxiety sensitivity index: ASI; Interaktions-Angst-Fragebogen: IAF) there was no difference.POTS patients do not exhibit signals of anxiety disorders more often than control groups, provided that questionnaires without autonomic items are used.