New Expert Consensus Statement By Heart Rhythm Society Addresses Three Cardiovascular Disorders Involving The Nervous System

At Heart Rhythm 2015, an international panel of experts provides concise diagnosis and treatment recommendations to improve quality of care for patients with specific cardiovascular syndromes

May 14, 2015

Media Contact

Ken Demith
Heart Rhythm Society

BOSTON – The Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) has released a first-of-its-kind expert consensus statement on three specific cardiovascular disorders that also involve the autonomic nervous system. The 2015 Heart Rhythm Society Expert Consensus Statement on the Diagnosis and Treatment of Postural Tachycardia Syndrome, Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia, and Vasovagal Syncope was written by an international group of experts and presented today at Heart Rhythm 2015, the Heart Rhythm Society’s 36th Annual Scientific Sessions.

The expert consensus statement will help front-line cardiologists, arrhythmia specialists, and other healthcare professionals to provide care for patients with postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS), inappropriate sinus tachycardia (IST), and vasovagal syncope (VVS).

  • Postural tachycardia syndromeisa clinical syndrome usually characterized by frequent symptoms like lightheadedness, palpitations, fatigue, and clouded thinking that occur when standing.
  • Inappropriate sinus tachycardiaisa rapid heart rate greater than 100 beats per minute at rest and associated with distressing symptoms of palpitations.
  • Vasovagal syncopeis a syndrome in which people faint, usually when sitting or standing for a while, or exposed to emotional stress, pain, or medical settings.

The working group aimed to provide simple, clear insights and recommendations about the causes, diagnosis, risk stratification, and treatment of these disorders, since recent advances are not widely understood by many health care professionals. The document provides evidence-informed recommendations, striking a balance between the need for recommendations and the availability of evidence.

“Each of these disorders causes a variety of symptoms that are challenging for patients, and their healthcare providers need to be able to make the right diagnosis and provide treatment options in a timely manner,” said task force chair and lead author of the statement, Robert S. Sheldon, MD, PhD, FHRS (chair), of Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta in Calgary, Canada. “Our expert consensus statement serves as an accessible, succinct resource for physicians so that diagnosis and treatment for these disorders can be more efficient, and improve both patient care and quality of life.”
The expert consensus group provided definitions and recommendations on the epidemiology and natural history, physiology, diagnosis, and treatment for each disorder. Comprehensively, the document:

  1.  Establishes working criteria for the diagnosis of POTS, IST and VVS
  2. Provides guidance and recommendations on assessment and management
  3. Identifies key areas in which knowledge is lacking and highlights opportunities for collaborative future research efforts

The working group calls for studies to be integrated into daily clinical practice, and for future studies to be performed internationally with networks of investigators to understand the disorders better. Additionally, the group recommends integrating current and cutting-edge technologies into the investigative approaches to the syndromes.

The expert consensus statement was developed in collaboration with and endorsed by the American Autonomic Society (AAS), the American College of Cardiology (ACC), the Asia Pacific Heart Rhythm Society (APHRS), the European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA), the Pediatric and Congenital Electrophysiology Society (PACES) and the Latin American Society of Cardiac Pacing and Electrophysiology. The document will be published in the online edition of HeartRhythm, the official journal of HRS, on May 13, 2015.  

Sessions details:
“Clinical Document: 2015 HRS Expert Consensus Document on Diagnosis and Treatment of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia (IST), and Vasovagal Syncope (VVS)”[Thursday, May 14, 2015, 10:30 a.m. –12:00 p.m. EDT,Room 108]

Heart Rhythm 2015 is the most comprehensive educational program for heart rhythm professionals, featuring more than 250 educational sections and more than 130 exhibitors showcasing innovative products and services. The Heart Rhythm Society’s Annual Scientific Sessions have become the must-attend event of the year, allowing the exchange of new vital ideas and information among colleagues from every corner of the globe.

About the Heart Rhythm Society

The Heart Rhythm Society is the international leader in science, education, and advocacy for cardiac arrhythmia professionals and patients, and the primary information resource on heart rhythm disorders. Its mission is to improve the care of patients by promoting research, education, and optimal health care policies and standards. Incorporated in 1979 and based in Washington, DC, it has a membership of more than 6,000 heart rhythm professionals in more than 72 countries around the world. For more information, visit

About the HeartRhythm Journal

HeartRhythm provides rapid publication of the most important science developments in the field of arrhythmias and cardiovascular electrophysiology (EP). As the official journal of the Heart Rhythm Society, HeartRhythm publishes both basic and clinical subject matter of scientific excellence devoted to the EP of the heart and blood vessels, as well as therapy. The journal is the only EP publication serving the entire electrophysiology community from basic to clinical academic researchers, private practitioners, technicians, industry and trainees. HeartRhythm has an impact factor of 4.866 (as of 2016) and ranks 23rd out of 114 cardiovascular medicine journals worldwide by the Institute for Scientific Information, remaining the number one specialty journal in cardiology. It is also the official publication of the Cardiac Electrophysiology Society.