Medical Definition of POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome)

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome): one of a group of conditions that are characterized by a greatly reduced volume of blood return to the heart after standing up from a lying down position. This causes the heart to beat faster (tachycardia) to try to maintain adequate levels of oxygen delivery to the tissues of the body. Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting may accompany the increase in heart rate when standing up from a reclining position. Anyone can develop POTS, but most of those affected (75%-80%) are women aged 15 to 50. The exact cause of POT syndrome is unknown.

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Last Editorial Review: 4/14/2017

REFERENCE: Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS).
<https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/9597/postural-orthostatic-tachycardia-syndrome>

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