Dallas, TX (June 29, 2021) – Dr. Diana Driscoll, clinical director of POTS Care, has introduced a treatment program for COVID-19 patients who continue to suffer with lingering symptoms of illness long after their viral infection has passed. These patients are often diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), a disorder affecting the autonomic nervous system. Because the symptoms are persistent and chronic, these patients have been dubbed “COVID Long-Haulers” or “Long COVID” patients.
Long COVID patients have recovered from the initial infection, but symptoms of illness continue to multiply and can ultimately result in the inability to work and even complete daily activities of living. Symptoms often include dizziness, fast heart rate, abnormal swings of blood pressure and heart rate, memory impairment or brain fog, shortness of breath, insomnia, anxiety, and depression.
The World Health Organization estimates a history of 177 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide. A recent study published in in The Journal of the American Medical Association found approximately 10% of COVID-19 patients continue to display disturbing and even disabling symptoms after the viral infection has passed. Because the virus is no longer active, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is now using the term “Post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection”, or “PASC” to describe these patients post-viral patients.
“Post-viral POTS is not new, unfortunately, but has been misunderstood, dismissed, or mistreated in the past,” states Dr. Driscoll. “COVID is yet another virus that can set off an abnormal inflammatory reaction in some patients. In every patient, the source of the problem needs to be identified and the damage that has occurred located, and then lay out a plan to help the patient recover. The sooner these patients are identified with POTS, the easier it can be to help them recover and avoid further suffering and even disability.”
Dr. Driscoll, a former POTS patient also triggered by a virus, explains, “POTS is diagnosed objectively – a patient’s heart rate increases rather dramatically when they get vertical, and this can occur without a drop in blood pressure. Their symptoms reach far beyond a fast heart rate, however, and can often include every system of the body. Yet patients are often told just to exercise more, drink more water, eat more salt, or even to take antidepressants! I find that traditional treatment for POTS to be not only inadequate, but often damaging to the patient in the long run.”
The gold standard for a POTS diagnosis is called a “tilt table test”. On this table, a patient’s heart rate is monitored as they are tilted from horizontal to almost vertical. A positive diagnosis of POTS in adults occurs with a heart rate increase of 30 beats per minute over ten minutes.
POTS Care, established in 2015, continues to be the only clinic dedicated to treating the underlying medical conditions causing POTS – not just the symptoms. The clinic has seen over 500 patients with POTS and every patient is prequalified to be certain they fit the criteria for diagnoses prior to their visit. The combination of advanced research and personal experience makes this clinic unique – and the mission to eradicate the mistreatment of many patients is a personal one.
About Dr. Diana Driscoll
Dr. Diana Driscoll is the Founder and President of Genetic Disease Investigators, and foremost authority on autonomic dysfunction, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), chronic dry eye, vagus nerve disorders, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), and similar “invisible” illnesses. She is the Clinical Director of POTS Care, the only clinic in the world treating POTS by treating the underlying medical cause(s) of POTS.
In her continual research with dysautonomia, Dr. Driscoll authored “The Driscoll Theory – The Cause of POTS in EDS”, and “Your Eyes and EDS” – both in-depth, scientific publications concerning connective tissue and the autonomic nervous system. She was also the chief author of the “Ophthalmology Medical Resource Guide” for Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation and has three patents to date. Dr. Driscoll is a dry eye expert, patenting unique treatments based on the autonomic nervous system. She holds a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin and a Doctorate in Optometry from University of Houston.