Prior work demonstrated dependence of the change in blood pressure during the Valsalva maneuver (VM) on the extent of thoracic hypovolemia and splanchnic hypervolemia. Thoracic hypovolemia and splanchnic hypervolemia characterize certain patients with postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS) during orthostatic stress. These patients also experience abnormal phase II hypotension and phase IV hypertension during VM. We hypothesize that reduced splanchnic arterial resistance explains aberrant VM results in these patients. We studied 17 POTS patients aged 15–23 yr with normal resting peripheral blood flow by strain gauge plethysmography and 10 comparably aged healthy volunteers. All had normal blood volumes by dye dilution. We assessed changes in estimated thoracic, splanchnic, pelvic-thigh, and lower leg blood volume and blood flow by impedance plethysmography throughout VM performed in the supine position. Baseline splanchnic blood flow was increased and calculated arterial resistance was decreased in POTS compared with control subjects. Splanchnic resistance decreased and flow increased in POTS subjects, whereas splanchnic resistance increased and flow decreased in control subjects during stage II of VM. This was associated with increased splanchnic blood volume, decreased thoracic blood volume, increased heart rate, and decreased blood pressure in POTS. Pelvic and leg resistances were increased above control and remained so during stage IV of VM, accounting for the increased blood pressure overshoot in POTS. Thus splanchnic hyperemia and hypervolemia are related to excessive phase II blood pressure reduction in POTS despite intense peripheral vasoconstriction. Factors other than autonomic dysfunction may play a role in POTS.
- splanchnic arterial resistance
- mesenteric artery
- autonomic dysfunction
- orthostatic intolerance
- Copyright © 2005 by the American Physiological Society