NEW ORLEANS — Space travel offers an opportunity to better understand patients with rare instances of orthostasis such as postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome or POTS, Alan Dow, MD, MSHA, a general internist at Virginia Commonwealth University and member of the ACP Internal Medicine Meeting planning committee, told Healio Family Medicine.
“When you go into space, one of the things that happens is that your body equilibrates to that low gravity situation and part of what happens is that you develop tachycardia because your heart is having to pump in different kinds of ways and that’s very comparable to POTS… We now recognize it’s a disease of a small cardiac chamber of atrophy of left ventricular mass,” he said.
“All of that leads to a resting tachycardia to maintain a high enough stroke volume. Your heart in a sense atrophies and gets smaller from deconditioning and you need to have a higher heart rate to keep up your cardiac output,” Dow continued.
He also discussed the various causes of dizziness, and a new strategy for distinguishing between the various causes of vertigo.
Disclosure: Dow reports no relevant financial disclosures.