The Treatment of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome in Adolescents in an Interdisciplinary Treatment Program: Preliminary Outcomes

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Barbara K. Bruce, PhD Karen E. Weiss, PhD Chelsea M. Ale, PhD Madeleine E. Allman, MPH, MA Tracy E. Harrison, MD Philip R. Fischer, MD


Importance: Estimates suggest that 1% of all teens struggle with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.  It can be a devastating condition for the adolescents who do not respond to the currently available pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic interventions. Preliminary data suggests that intensive interdisciplinary treatment may provide an effective intervention that can return these youth to normal functioning including full-time attendance at school, as well as reduce orthostatic symptoms, and psychological distress.  


Objective: To determine the effectiveness and durability of a 3-week interdisciplinary treatment in adolescents with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome in improving orthostatic symptoms, functioning, and psychological distress.


Design: Patients diagnosed with Postural Tachycardia Syndrome admitted to an interdisciplinary treatment program were assessed at admission, discharge and 3-month follow-up to determine presence and severity of orthostatic symptoms, as well as functional status including return to school, and depression.


Setting: An intensive interdisciplinary treatment program in a tertiary hospital outpatient setting.


Participants: Forty-five adolescents ages 12-18 with confirmed diagnoses of Postural Tachycardia Syndrome referred to a tertiary medical center for interdisciplinary treatment. 

Intervention:  A 3-week intensive outpatient interdisciplinary rehabilitation program with significant parental involvement based on a cognitive-behavioral model.


Main Outcome and Measure(s): Self-reported orthostatic symptoms were assessed with the Compass 31; level of functioning was assessed with the Functional Disability Index, depressive symptoms were assessed with the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression for Children, and self-reported school attendance was assessed. 


Results: Significant improvements were observed and maintained at the end of treatment and at 3-month follow-up on measures of orthostatic symptoms, physical functioning, and psychological distress.  At admission, 32% of patients had completed high school or were attending school full-time. At 3-month follow-up, 90% were either attending school full-time or had completed their schooling.

Keywords: Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, POTS, interdisciplinary treatment, adolescents.

Keywords: Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, POTS, interdisciplinary treatment, adolescents

Article Details

How to Cite
BRUCE, Barbara K. et al. The Treatment of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome in Adolescents in an Interdisciplinary Treatment Program: Preliminary Outcomes. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 10, n. 10, oct. 2022. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 19 june 2024. doi:
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