Heart Rate and Blood Pressure Management May Aid Children with Unexplained Chronic Nausea

Heart rate and blood pressure regulation may help treat inexplicable, persistent nausea in children.

According to a recent study performed by researchers at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, heart rate and blood pressure regulation may help treat inexplicable, persistent nausea in children.

Roughly 25% of children living in the United States are affected by unexplained chronic nausea.

Chronic nausea in children is not well understood, however, and prior treatments have proven to be vastly ineffective. The focus of past treatments has been to alleviate the gastroenterology symptoms associated with chronic nausea, not the cause of the condition.

A drug frequently used to treat orthostatic intolerance (OI)—a condition which causes fainting and dizziness—was found to diminish the intensity of chronic nausea in patients.

Lead author of the study, John Fortunato, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at Wake Forest Baptist, reported that "there seems to be a connection between heart rate and blood pressure, and chronic nausea. When we treated the heart rate issues, the nausea was reduced."

The study focused on 17 patients between the ages of 11 and 17 years old, all of whom had suffered from inexplicable nausea and dizziness for one year. All of the participants also had OI.

The study lasted for four weeks, during which time the participants were administered fludrocortisones, a drug used to reduce the substantial increases in heart rate and the drop of blood pressure which occurs when OI patients stand for a long period of time.

Of the 17 participants, 11 (65%) showed at least 50% or great improvement in nausea after the study was completed.

"We may now have a more directed way to treat this condition," Fortunato stated. "This is proof of concept research and gives us a real possibility for a new treatment."

Fortunato reported that he hopes to perform a larger clinical trial in order to figure out what other potential drugs could be used to help children manage their unexplained chronic nausea and OI.

This study was published in the August issue of Clinical Autonomic Research.