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Am J Med. 1995 Nov;99(5):525-9.

Treatment of orthostatic tachycardia with erythropoietin.

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Department of Medicine, West Virginia University, Morgantown 26506-9159, USA.



To determine whether increasing red blood cell volume with erythropoietin reverses the hemodynamic response to standing in patients with orthostatic tachycardia.


Eight patients (2 men, 6 women) with orthostatic tachycardia were administered erythropoietin (50 U/kg body weight 3 times a week for 6 to 12 weeks) in order to reverse their red blood cell volume deficit. Six of the patients also received fludrocortisone (0.1 mg/d). Plasma and red blood cell volumes as well as the hemodynamic response to orthostatic stress were measured before and after erythropoietin therapy.


Erythropoietin therapy increased the mean +/- hematocrit from 37.6 +/- 1.0 to 46.4 +/- 1.4 (+/- standard error) (P < 0.01) and increased the red blood cell volume from 17.7 +/- 1.1 to 24.6 +/- 2.0 mL/kg (P < 0.01). Treatment increased supine mean blood pressure (from 87 +/- 4 to 93 +/- 5 mm Hg, P < 0.025) and standing mean blood pressure (from 87 +/- 4 to 94 +/- 5 mm Hg, P < 0.025). Erythropoietin therapy, however, failed to reverse orthostatic tachycardia. Following treatment, the mean heart rate after 5 minutes standing was 129 +/- 7 bpm, not significantly different from the pretreatment standing heart rate (134 +/- 5 bpm).


Although patients with the orthostatic tachycardia syndrome have a deficit in red blood cell volume, this is not the cause of their abnormal hemodynamic response to standing. Erythropoietin therapy fails to reverse orthostatic tachycardia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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