Previous investigations have allowed for stratification of patients with postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS) on the basis of peripheral blood flow. One such subset, comprising “normal-flow POTS” patients, is characterized by normal peripheral resistance and blood volume in the supine position but thoracic hypovolemia and splanchnic blood pooling in the upright position. We studied 32 consecutive 14- to 22-yr-old POTS patients comprising 13 with low-flow POTS, 14 with normal-flow POTS, and 5 with high-flow POTS and 12 comparably aged healthy volunteers. We measured changes in impedance plethysmographic (IPG) indexes of blood volume and blood flow within thoracic, splanchnic, pelvic (upper leg), and lower leg regional circulations in the supine posture and during incremental tilt to 20°, 35°, and 70°. We validated IPG measures of thoracic and splanchnic blood flow against indocyanine green dye-dilution measurements. We validated IPG leg blood flow against venous occlusion plethysmography. Control subjects developed progressive vasoconstriction with incremental tilt. Splanchnic blood flow was increased in the supine position in normal-flow POTS, despite marked peripheral vasoconstriction, and did not change during incremental tilt, producing progressive splanchnic hypervolemia. Absolute hypovolemia was present in low-flow POTS, all supine flows and volumes were reduced, there was no vasoconstriction with tilt in all segments, and segmental volumes tended to increase uniformly throughout tilt. Lower body (pelvic and leg) flows were increased in high-flow POTS at all angles, with consequent lower body hypervolemia during tilt. Our main finding is selective and maintained orthostatic splanchnic vasodilation in normal-flow POTS, despite marked peripheral vasoconstriction in these same patients. Local splanchnic vasoregulatory factors may counteract vasoconstriction and venoconstriction in these patients. Lower body vasoconstriction in high-flow POTS was abnormal, and vasoconstriction in low-flow POTS was sustained at initially elevated supine levels.
- blood volume
- orthostatic intolerance
- Copyright © 2006 by the American Physiological Society