Cardiac arrhythmias in postural tachycardia syndrome and orthostatic intolerance

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Cardiology in the young




Arrhythmia; ambulatory rhythm monitoring; postural tachycardia syndrome


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: There is sparse literature on cardiac arrhythmias and the utility of ambulatory rhythm monitoring in patients with postural tachycardia syndrome and orthostatic intolerance. This study's primary aim was to investigate the prevalence of arrhythmias in this population. Knowing the prevalence and types of arrhythmias in dysautonomia patients could influence the decision to pursue ambulatory rhythm monitoring and ultimately guide therapy. METHODS: This retrospective descriptive study examined the frequency of cardiac arrhythmias, as detected by ambulatory rhythm monitoring, in children with postural tachycardia syndrome/orthostatic intolerance or syncope who were seen at the Children's National Hospital Electrophysiology Clinic between January 2001 and December 2020. RESULTS: In postural tachycardia syndrome/orthostatic intolerance patients, arrhythmia was detected on 15% of 332 ambulatory rhythm monitors. In syncope patients, arrhythmia was detected on 16% of 157 ambulatory rhythm monitors, not significantly different from the postural tachycardia syndrome/orthostatic intolerance group. The difference in rate of arrhythmia detection between 24-hour Holter and 2-week Zio® monitoring was not statistically significant. CONCLUSION: This study suggests that a substantial proportion of postural tachycardia syndrome/orthostatic intolerance patients may have concomitant underlying cardiac arrhythmias, at a frequency similar to what is seen in patients undergoing primary evaluation for cardiac symptoms such as chest pain, palpitations, and syncope. In the appropriate clinical context, physicians caring for postural tachycardia syndrome/orthostatic intolerance patients should consider additional evaluation for arrhythmias beyond sinus tachycardia.