Inappropriate sinus tachycardia, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, and overlapping syndromes

Peter A. Brady, Phillip A. Low, Win K. Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Background: Inappropriate sinus tachycardia (IAST) and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) are syndrome complexes with some distinctive features, overlapping clinical manifestations, and potential common mechanisms. Pathogenesis of these overlapping syndromes is poorly understood. Diagnostic and therapeutic approaches have not been standardized. Purpose: This article provides an overview of the definition, clinical presentation, and proposed mechanisms of IAST and other overlapping syndromes. A stepwise diagnostic approach is suggested. A multidisciplinary management scheme is outlined. Methods: A MEDLINE search for English-language articles on IAST, POTS, and chronic orthostatic intolerance published up to 2005 was performed. Published data incorporated with our clinical experience were synthesized and presented in this review. Results: The population of IAST is heterogeneous and underlying mechanisms are complex and likely multifactorial. Evidence suggests that both cardiac and extracardiac causes are plausible. Regional and limited autonomic neuropathies, at least in part, can provide a mechanism-based explanation of the cardiovascular indices and clinical symptoms in a significant number of patients with IAST. The regional abnormalities can be detected by autonomic testing. Among patients with IAST and evidence of autonomic dysregulation, an integrated autonomic, cardiovascular, and psychiatric management approach appears to be logical and rational when appropriate. Sinus node ablation could be considered in patients with persistent IAST in the absence of autonomic neuropathy and multisystem symptoms. Data from long-term outcomes are lacking. Conclusion: The current understanding of IAST mechanisms is incomplete and management approach is not adequate. Significant effort needed in clinical research to improve therapeutic outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1112-1121
Number of pages10
JournalPACE - Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2005


  • Ablation
  • Chronic orthostatic intolerance
  • Inappropriate sinus tachycardia
  • Management
  • Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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