New disorder linked to patients who recovered from COVID-19

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — Doctors told Kristi Brodd she had anxiety for nine years, but it was something else called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.

“POTS is often misdiagnosed as anxiety because there are a lot of overlapping symptoms,” Brodd said. “But for me, I had fatigue. I had the rapid heart rate. Specifically, for POTS when you stand up, your heart rate goes up a lot. I could feel that. I could see it that on my Fitbit. I would stand up and look down my heart rate was in the 140s, 150s, just standing up at my desk.”

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Brodd found the Carolina Functional Neurology Center where Dr. Lauren Brindisi, a functional neurologist, treats patients with POTS at her office in Huntersville.

Brindisi said that since the start of the pandemic, they’ve seen several patients diagnosed with POTS after recovering from COVID-19. Since last month, her office has seen a 50% increase in calls from people who’ve had COVID-19 and developed POTS or are suspected to have a similar diagnosis.

“Our biggest thing is that we really want to raise awareness because we’ve been treating this disorder for years,” Brindisi said. “And lot of patients who’ve we’ve seen previously develop these type of symptoms after infection. Now we know we’re likely going to see that more, and we don’t want patients to wait to get the care that they need.”

There are different forms of treatment. Brodd’s went through tilt-table therapy, which is used to retrain the brain on how to handle gravity. She said the results were immediate, and that there is hope for those with COVID-19, who may develop POTS symptoms.

“So, after living with these symptoms daily for almost nine years to now, I’m pretty, every day, I feel fine. I feel like my life is back to normal,” she said.

Brodd said she feels like herself again.

“I feel fine,” she said.

According to Dysautonomia International, anyone between 15 and 50 years old can get POTS. The organization said 80% of patients are women.