Understanding the future research needs in Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS): Evidence mapping the POTS adult literature.

Helen Ruth Eftekhari, H Maddock, Gemma Pearce, S. Raza, Lesley Kavi, P. B. Lim, F. Osman, S. A. Hayat

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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POTS is under diagnosed with an estimated prevalence of 0.2%. North American and Australian researchers, as well as patient groups have called for more research into POTS. However, there has been no comprehensive appraisal of the current POTS evidence base. Aim To map the POTS evidence base. Methods Two reviewers systematically searched 12 databases until July 1st 2019 using the search term “Postural Tachycardia Syndrome” (n = 7280) and categorised the literature. Inclusion criteria included all adult published literature with no language restrictions. 779 papers are analysed and mapped. Results Seven themes were identified: symptomology and quality of life 16.8% (n = 132), biomedical topics 16.5% (n = 130), co-morbidities 10.3% (n = 81), non-pharmacological management 9.8% (n = 77), aetiologies 6.9% (n = 53), pharmacological management 6.7% (n = 53), and clinical management 6.6% (n = 52). There 45 subthemes. Quality appraisal of the research studies (n = 233) evaluated design, sample size, outcome measures, data analysis and research biases. 74.8% (n = 175) were observational designs and 25.2% (n = 59) were experimental designs (16 using a randomised controlled design, 11 of which had a sample size greater than 21). 47.4% (n = 111) of studies only measured duration of effect for <1 day. 11.5% (n = 27) of studies reported outcomes using an unvalidated subjective measurement tool. Conclusion The volume of adult POTS literature is small and the validity and reliability of the research lacks rigour. The evidence map methodology provides POTS researchers with a benchmark for research thus far. This paper adds an in-depth research appraisal to the broad calls for action, highlighting the pressing need for multicentre, good quality research in POTS, to support guidelines and consensus development in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102808
JournalAutonomic Neuroscience: Basic and Clinical
Early online date18 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

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  • POTS
  • Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome
  • Evidence map
  • Research


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