Long COVID Can Affect Your Heart

Written by: Jennifer

If you’ve ever felt lightheaded or dizzy after standing up or getting out of bed, you may have experienced symptoms of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, also known as POTS.

Normally, when you sit or stand, gravity works its magic and pulls your blood downward away from your heart and brain. We don’t feel this because our bodies know what to do to normalize this shift. Our blood vessels will quickly narrow which slows the gravitational pull. Then, our heart rate will slightly increase to maintain the blood and oxygen flow to the heart and brain.

For people with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), this doesn’t always work the way it should. The blood vessels don’t narrow, causing the heart to race to compensate for the drop in blood flow. This racing heart makes you feel dizzy or lightheaded.

If you’ve recovered from COVID-19, and you are still not feeling well, your body may be fighting what is called Long COVID. It is now established that COVID-19 negatively affects our heart. This puts long haulers at a higher risk for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS).

How can POTS be managed?

Although there is no known cure for POTS, the condition can be managed in most patients with diet, exercise, and medications.

In a recent case study, we found that Enhanced External Counterpulsation (EECP) therapy provides promising results for patients with POTS. EECP is a noninvasive therapy that works by improving the circulation of blood flow to your heart. This gives your heart a workout to strengthen it so that it works properly when blood flow falls victim to gravitational pull.

Long COVID POTS Case Study Findings

A 57-year-old female was diagnosed with COVID-19 in December 2020. She was hospitalized for COVID pneumonia and for respiratory failure. This was followed by stays at an acute care facility and home rehabilitation center. Soon after, she was diagnosed with Long-COVID-19-associated POTS, with symptoms such as fatigue, “brain fog”, and difficulty breathing. Only 15 EECP treatments later, she reported less fatigue and less shortness of breath! You can view the full case study report here.

How does EECP Therapy Work?

EECP is short for “Enhanced External Counter Pulsation” and is a noninvasive therapy  that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for its use in chronic stable angina and ischemic heart failure. Benefits from EECP therapy include a decrease in chest pain, an increase in energy levels, improved blood pressure, and much more. Learn more about how EECP therapy works below:

If you have recovered from COVID-19 and still have lingering symptoms, EECP therapy may be able to help Click on “Am I a Candidate” above to get started.

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