Work ability assessment and its relationship with cardiovascular autonomic profile in postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome

Franca Barbic, Maura Minonzio, Beatrice Cairo, Dana Shiffer, Antonio Roberto Zamuner, Silvia Cavalieri, Franca Dipaola, Nicola Magnavita, Alberto Porta, Raffaello Furlan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) negatively impacts quality of life. The excessive increase in cardiac sympathetic modulation during standing, which characterizes POTS patients, leads to many symptoms and signs of orthostatic intolerance. Little is known about the consequences of the disease on work performance and its relationship with individual autonomic profiles. Twenty-two POTS patients regularly engaged in working activity (20 females, age 36 ± 12 years) and 18 gender-and age-matched controls underwent a clinical evaluation and filled out the Work Ability Index (WAI) questionnaire. POTS patients completed the Composite Autonomic Symptom Score (COMPASS31) questionnaire, underwent continuous electrocardiogram, blood pressure and respiratory activity recordings while supine and during a 75° head-up tilt (HUT). A power spectrum analysis provided the index of cardiac sympatho-vagal balance (LF/HF). WAI scores were significantly reduced in POTS patients (29.84 ± 1.40) compared to controls (45.63 ± 0.53, p < 0.01). A significant inverse correlation was found between individual WAI and COMPASS31 scores (r = −0.46; p = 0.03), HUT increase in heart rate (r = −0.57; p = 0.01) and LF/HF (r = −0.55; p = 0.01). In POTS patients, the WAI scores were inversely correlated to the intensity of autonomic symptoms and to the excessive cardiac sympathetic activation induced by the gravitational stimulus.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7836
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2020


  • Arterial pressure
  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Baroreflex
  • Head-up tilt
  • Heart rate variability
  • Spectral analysis
  • Work ability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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