Cardiovascular autonomic dysfunction in post-COVID-19 syndrome: a major health-care burden

Artur Fedorowski, Alessandra Fanciulli, Satish R Raj, Robert Sheldon, Cyndya A Shibao, Richard Sutton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Cardiovascular autonomic dysfunction (CVAD) is a malfunction of the cardiovascular system caused by deranged autonomic control of circulatory homeostasis. CVAD is an important component of post-COVID-19 syndrome, also termed long COVID, and might affect one-third of highly symptomatic patients with COVID-19. The effects of CVAD can be seen at both the whole-body level, with impairment of heart rate and blood pressure control, and in specific body regions, typically manifesting as microvascular dysfunction. Many severely affected patients with long COVID meet the diagnostic criteria for two common presentations of CVAD: postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome and inappropriate sinus tachycardia. CVAD can also manifest as disorders associated with hypotension, such as orthostatic or postprandial hypotension, and recurrent reflex syncope. Advances in research, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, have identified new potential pathophysiological mechanisms, diagnostic methods and therapeutic targets in CVAD. For clinicians who daily see patients with CVAD, knowledge of its symptomatology, detection and appropriate management is more important than ever. In this Review, we define CVAD and its major forms that are encountered in post-COVID-19 syndrome, describe possible CVAD aetiologies, and discuss how CVAD, as a component of post-COVID-19 syndrome, can be diagnosed and managed. Moreover, we outline directions for future research to discover more efficient ways to cope with this prevalent and long-lasting condition.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Reviews Cardiology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2024 Jan 2

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Anesthesiology and Intensive Care


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