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Cardiovagal Baroreflex Deficits Impair Neurovascular Coupling and Cognition in POTS

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ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03261570
Recruitment Status : Recruiting
First Posted : August 25, 2017
Last Update Posted : July 16, 2019
Sponsor:
Collaborator:
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Julian Stewart, New York Medical College

Brief Summary:
Postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS), is the chronic form of orthostatic intolerance associated with excessive upright tachycardia, and occurs predominantly in young females (>85%). Among its most troubling symptoms are lightheadedness, fatigue, and decreased memory often called "brain fog" by patients. Task-related neurovascular coupling (NVC) links neural activity to an increase in CBF known as "functional hyperemia". Although memory task performance and NVC deteriorated with angle of tilt in POTS but not healthy controls, cerebral blood flow (CBF) remained similar to control. Instead, the investigators observed extensive narrow band low frequency (0.07-0.13 Hz) oscillations in BP (OBP) that entrained and amplified oscillations in CBF (OCBF). OBP and OCBF increased with tilt angle and caused impaired working memory and reduced functional hyperemia. The cardiovagal baroreflex couples BP to HR to buffer BP changes. The investigators hypothesize that the cardiovagal baroreflex becomes progressively impaired with orthostasis in POTS, but not in healthy volunteers, and accounts for OBP, OCBF, and loss of NVC; further, improving the baroreflex reduces OBP, OCBF and Brain Fog in POTS.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) POTS Orthostatic Intolerance Drug: Pyridostigmine Drug: Digoxin Drug: Placebo Early Phase 1

Detailed Description:

Orthostatic intolerance is defined by debilitating upright symptoms that are relieved by sitting or lying. Symptoms include upright lightheadedness, fatigue, confusion, and decreased memory called 'Brain Fog' by patients. The most common chronic form is Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), characterized by excessive upright tachycardia without hypotension. Of note, >85% of POTS patients are female. The proposal that Brain Fog was caused by reduced cerebral blood flow (CBF) has been disproven, because graded incremental upright tilt failed to demonstrate difference in mean CBF compared to healthy volunteers. Nevertheless, memory task performance deteriorates with angle of tilt as does task-related neurovascular coupling (NVC), which links neural activity to an increase in CBF known as "functional hyperemia". The investigators have previously observed that large low frequency (0.07-0.13 Hz) oscillations in BP (OBP), which entrained and amplified oscillations in CBF (OCBF), increased with tilt angle and were associated with impaired working memory and reduced functional hyperemia.

The sympathetic baroreflex remains intact and HR is excessively increased in the absence of parasympathetic counterregulation. The cardiovagal baroreflex couples BP to HR to buffer BP changes. Large low frequency BP oscillations, representing a resonance within the sympathetic baroreflex loop, occur if there is central hypovolemia, an intact sympathetic baroreflex, and reduced parasympathetic buffering of BP by HR; conditions found in upright POTS. This leads to the following hypothetical paradigm:

↓Cardiovagal Baroreflex → ↑OBP → ↑↑OCBF → ↓NVC → ↓working memory. Therefore, in this application, the investigators hypothesize that the cardiovagal baroreflex is impaired in POTS while supine, becomes further impaired with orthostasis, and accounts for OBP, OCBF, and loss of NVC. Further, the investigators propose that improving the cardiovagal baroreflex improves hemodynamics and Brain Fog in POTS patients.


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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Estimated Enrollment : 80 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment
Masking: Quadruple (Participant, Care Provider, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Diagnostic
Official Title: Cardiovagal Baroreflex Deficits Impair Neurovascular Coupling and Cognition in Postural Tachycardia Syndrome
Actual Study Start Date : July 1, 2017
Estimated Primary Completion Date : June 30, 2021
Estimated Study Completion Date : September 1, 2021

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine


Arm Intervention/treatment
Active Comparator: Pyridostigmine and Placebo
Pyridostigmine 60mg by mouth one day and Placebo (Lactulose 50mg) by mouth on a different day
Drug: Pyridostigmine
60mg by mouth
Other Name: Mestinon

Drug: Placebo
Lactulose 50mg by mouth

Active Comparator: Digoxin and Placebo
Digoxin 0.5mg (500mcg) by mouth one day and Placebo (Lactulose 50mg) by mouth on a different day
Drug: Digoxin
0.5 (500mcg) by mouth

Drug: Placebo
Lactulose 50mg by mouth




Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Cardiovagal Baroreflex during orthostatic stress [ Time Frame: 1 year ]
    Cardiovagal Baroreflex during orthostatic stress in unmedicated POTS patients compared to unmedicated control subjects during each angle of incremental tilt. The unmedicated baroreflex measurement will be repeated in POTS patients to similar measurements after treatment with placebo, pyridostigmine or digoxin. Baroreflex measurements will be obtained using the standard "modified Oxford" technique.

  2. Cognitive ability during orthostatic stress [ Time Frame: 1 year ]
    . Cognitive ability during orthostatic stress in unmedicated POTS patients compared to unmedicated control subjects during each angle of incremental tilt. Cognitive ability will be repeated in POTS patients to similar measurements after treatment with placebo, pyridostigmine or digoxin. Cognitive ability will be assessed with a standard 2-Back test in which patients identify identical alphabetic characters appearing 2 characters before the current displayed character in a sequence of 29 characters.


Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Cardiac output measure by inert gas breathing technique [ Time Frame: 1 year ]
    Cardiac output measure by inert gas breathing technique. Cardiac output is the amount of blood pumped by the heart in one minute. The technique uses the Innocor system in which the relative levels of two inert gases - one blood soluble and one insoluble component - are measured over a few respirations (about 5 breaths or 15 seconds). The rate of disappearance of the soluble gas from the alveolar space is proportional to the flow of blood perfusing the lungs and equals the cardiac output.

  2. Arterial blood pressure, and mean arterial pressure defined by the time average blood pressure over the cardiac cycle [ Time Frame: 1 year ]
    Arterial blood pressure in mmHg over each cardiac cycle will be collected using finger photoplethysmography. The arterial pressure is reported as an aggregate of 3 extracted quantities: the systolic blood pressure which is the maximum blood pressure over a cardiac cycle; the diastolic blood pressure which is the minimum blood pressure over a cardiac cycle; and the mean blood pressure which is the average blood pressure over a cardiac cycle.

  3. Heart rate [ Time Frame: 1 year ]
  4. systemic vascular resistance defined by the ratio of mean arterial pressure to cardiac output [ Time Frame: 1 year ]


Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   15 Years to 30 Years   (Child, Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   Female
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
Criteria

Inclusion Criteria for POTS patients:

POTS patients referred for day to day orthostatic intolerance with greater than 3 symptoms for greater than 3 months and will have the diagnosis of symptomatic postural tachycardia made during a screening tilt table test :

  • dizziness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • palpitations
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • exercise intolerance
  • blurred vision
  • abnormal sweating heat.

Healthy control subjects:

  • normal physical examination, and normal electrocardiographic and echocardiographic evaluations.
  • Only those free from heart disease, and from systemic illness will be eligible to participate.
  • This excludes patients with illnesses and disease states known to be associated with endothelial cell dysfunction such as diabetes, renal disease, congestive heart failure, systemic hypertension, acute and chronic inflammatory diseases, neoplasm, immune mediated disease, trauma, morbid obesity and peripheral vascular disease.

At the time of testing all patients and control subjects must refrain from vasoactive drugs for two weeks.

Exclusion Criteria for both POTS and healthy controls:

  • An active medical condition that may explain the diagnosis
  • A previous medical condition with undocumented resolution that may explain the diagnosis
  • any systemic or overt structural, arrhythmic or myopathic cardiovascular disease
  • any illnesses known to produce autonomic dysfunction such as diabetes, heart disease, renal disease, systemic hypertension, acute and chronic inflammatory diseases, neoplastic disease, immune mediated disease, major trauma and burns, morbid obesity and peripheral vascular disease will also be excluded.
  • Cigarette smokers will be excluded.
  • Past or present major psychiatric disorder
  • Substance abuse within 2 years before onset of symptoms.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT03261570


Contacts
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Contact: Courtney R. Terilli, RN, BSN 914-593-8888 courtney_terilli@nymc.edu
Contact: Julian M. Stewart, M.D., Ph.D. 914-593-8888 julian_stewart@nymc.edu

Locations
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United States, New York
New York Medical College/Bradhurst building Recruiting
Hawthorne, New York, United States, 10532
Contact: Courtney R. Terilli, RN. BSN    914-593-8888    courtney_terilli@nymc.edu   
Contact: Julian M. Stewart, M.D., Ph.D.    914-593-8888    julian_stewart@nymc.edu   
Principal Investigator: Julian M. Stewart, M.D., Ph.D.         
Sub-Investigator: Marvin S. Medow, Ph.D.         
Sponsors and Collaborators
New York Medical College
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Investigators
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Principal Investigator: Julian M. Stewart, M.D., Ph.D. New York Medical College

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Responsible Party: Julian Stewart, Professor of Pediatrics, New York Medical College
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03261570     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 1R01HL134674-01A1 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
First Posted: August 25, 2017    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: July 16, 2019
Last Verified: July 2019

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Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: No
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: No
Keywords provided by Julian Stewart, New York Medical College:
Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)
POTS
Orthostatic Intolerance
Digoxin
Pyridostigmine
Mestinon
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome
Tachycardia
Orthostatic Intolerance
Syndrome
Disease
Pathologic Processes
Arrhythmias, Cardiac
Heart Diseases
Cardiovascular Diseases
Cardiac Conduction System Disease
Primary Dysautonomias
Autonomic Nervous System Diseases
Nervous System Diseases
Neurologic Manifestations
Signs and Symptoms
Digoxin
Lactulose
Pyridostigmine Bromide
Anti-Arrhythmia Agents
Cardiotonic Agents
Enzyme Inhibitors
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action
Protective Agents
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Gastrointestinal Agents
Cholinesterase Inhibitors
Cholinergic Agents
Neurotransmitter Agents