(HealthDay News) — Patients with postural tachycardia syndrome (PoTS) are mainly women, young, and well-educated, with considerable symptom burden, according to a study published online June 16 in BMJ Open.

Claire McDonald, from Newcastle University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study to examine the frequency of PoTS symptoms and their associated variables. Data were used from two PoTS cohorts: those recruited via PoTS UK (84 patients), and those diagnosed at the Newcastle Hospitals National Health Service Foundation Trust from 2009–2012 (52 patients). Patients were compared with a matched cohort with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

The researchers found that the members of the PoTS UK cohort were significantly younger than the clinic patients, with significantly fewer men (P=0.005). Most patients (> 60%) had a university or postgraduate degree. Working was significantly more prevalent in the PoTS UK cohort, and work hours were significantly longer (P=0.001). A significantly longer time to diagnosis was found in the PoTS UK cohort (P=0.04). The severity of symptoms was similar between the cohorts. Levels of fatigue and sleepiness were comparable for the PoTS total group versus a matched CFS group, but the autonomic symptom burden was significantly higher. A total of 21 treatment combinations were described, with the most common regimen including beta-blockers. Up to one-third of patients were not receiving treatment.

“Patients with PoTS are predominantly women, young, well educated and have significant and debilitating symptoms that impact significantly on quality of life,” the authors write. “Despite this, there is no consistent treatment.”

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