Is POTS a Long-Haul Post-COVID-19 Symptom?

Months after a COVID-19 infection, patients may experience "long-haul" symptoms like rapid heart rate, dizziness upon standing and lightheadedness consistent with a diagnosis of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), according to a clinical case report published March 10 in JACC: Case Reports.

In the case report, Madeleine Johansson, MD, PhD, et al., discuss three Swedish patients who were diagnosed with POTS more than three months after presumed COVID-19 infections. All three patients experienced COVID-19-like symptoms in the spring of 2020, but not all sought medical attention or received COVID-19 tests at the time of their symptoms. Later that summer and fall, all three patients began experiencing symptoms of POTS, including extreme fatigue, headache, nausea and dizziness. POTS was confirmed using active standing and head-up tilt tests.

"As reports of COVID-19 patients being impacted by long-term symptoms unrelated to their original diagnosis continue to grow, it's important to raise awareness of POTS as a possible long-term complication," said Johansson. "Much remains unknown about the specific mechanisms responsible for the POTS-like symptoms in post-COVID-19 patients or how long these symptoms will last, but chronic symptoms are expected in a subset of patients based on this initial clinical experience."

The researchers note that a negative COVID-19 test does not exclude the patient from having been infected with COVID-19 and "ought to be interpreted with caution in the context of typical symptoms." In addition, other causes of POTS symptoms should be excluded, including dehydration, other infections, anxiety and anemia.

Clinical Topics: COVID-19 Hub

Keywords: ACC International, Dizziness, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, Heart Rate, COVID-19, Dehydration, Sweden, Anxiety Disorders, Tilt-Table Test, Vertigo, Headache, Fatigue, Anxiety, Nausea, Anemia

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