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POTS: the chronic, incurable condition some COVID patients are developing

Posted at 10:40 PM, Dec 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-16 23:40:34-05

OKLAHOMA CITY — Doctors are discovering some COVID survivors are not necessarily fully recovering. They are the patients in it for the long haul, developing chronic conditions like POTS, a dysautonomia disorder.

“POTS is postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome,” Andrea Reyes said.

Reyes started experiencing POTS at age 17.

“Basically, these patients have increased heart rate when they stand up,” said Dr. Stavros Stavrakis, associate professor of medicine at the University of Oklahoma, as he explained the symptoms.

A normal heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. Reyes was reaching 180-200 BPM.

Dr. Stavrakis and his team at OU discovered antibodies are one of the reasons POTS patients experience increased heart rates when standing. They are also conducting clinical studies on POTS patients and testing treatments.

“We’re trying to find a noninvasive way of ameliorating the symptoms of pots,” Dr. Stavrakis said.

There is no cure for pots, yet. That could change as more case reports are released showing COVID patients later developing the syndrome.

“I hate that people are being diagnosed with it, but I do really like that we’re getting more awareness and people are starting to see this is worthy of studying and hopefully finding a cure,” Reyes said.

OU is not currently studying the correlation between POTS and COVID. However, Dr. Stavrakis said the syndrome is one of many ways COVID affects the heart.

POTS is estimated to impact between one and three million Americans, according to the Dysautonomia Internationalorganization. Among many other resources, the nonprofit provides support to those living with the syndrome. An online group for Oklahomans can be found here.

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