Vanderbilt Autonomic Dysfunction Center

Current research projects for people with POTS who are new to our program

Phenotype of Autonomic Dysfunction


A study that is appropriate for any patient that is thought to have autonomic impairment.   The aim of this study is to establish the baseline health of the autonomic nervous system and to help establish or confirm a preliminary diagnosis.   It includes autonomic reflex testing, blood pressure measurements lying, seated and standing along with blood sampling for plasma catecholamines.  There may be a tilt test, cardiac output measurements taken.   There are also some questionnaires.


Dietary Salt in Postural Tachycardia Syndrome


The purpose of this study is to see if people with postural tachycardia (POTS, bad effects on standing) have different changes in their blood after a high-salt diet compared to a low-salt diet than people that don't have POTS.  this study will test whether the blood vessels of people with POTS will react differently to certain tests than people without POTS.  About 50 people will take part in this study.


Modafinil and Cognitive Functin in Postural Tachycardia Syndrome


A common complaint among people with POTS is "brain fog", a difficulty in concentrating.  This study consists of a baseline autonomic evaluation then a series of medication trials on subsequent days to see if two different medications, given alone or together can help the subject concentrate.


Acute Transdermal Vagal Stimulation for the Treatment of Postural Tachycardia Syndrome

The purpose of this study is to investigate how a small electrical stimulation of a nerve to the skin of your ear lobe may affect your heart rate and blood pressure.  We hope this study will help us develop a new therapy for your disease.  The study may include a basic autonomic evaluation, and three days of study, including two brief tilts table tests on separate days.

Genetic Basis of Autonomic Dysfunction

All patients with autonomic problems are asked to participate in a study that collects a blood sample for DNA extraction.   We feel strongly that DNA collection is a research tool that will may invaluable in the future to understanding the causes of these rare disorders.   There are no specific tests that are planned at the moment, and results from DNA testing will not be available to individual participants.

This page was last updated October 3, 2014 and is maintained by