Autonomic nervous system and Long COVID

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A significant number of patients experience autonomic dysfunction with long COVID. This learning bite describes the function of the autonomic system, how this is impacted in long COVID, and what we can do to support patients with these clinical presentations.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this learning bite you will be able to:

  • Identify the role of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). 
  • Explain how this is impacted in long COVID. 
  • Describe common issues individuals with long COVID can experience as a result of ANS dysfunction. 
  • Demonstrate an awareness of strategies for assessment and management ANS dysfunction.
Slide pack
The autonomic nervous system and long COVID
Additional resources


These websites provide useful information for both patients and professionals to support management of PoTS and other forms of dysautonomia:
Dysautonomia international
Postural tachycardia syndrome (PoTS) - NHS 

Educational video

In this video produced by STARS (Syncope Trust and Reflex Anoxic Seizures), Dr Boon Lim, Consultant Cardiologist & Electrophysiologist from Imperial College, London discusses autonomic dysfunction and how it can cause palpitations, chest pain and shortness of breath. (23:24)

Want to know more about exercise rehabilitation in dysautonomia?
There are various exercise protocols available that are commonly used in autonomic rehabilitation. See link below for additional information: 

Further reading on PoTS
Gall, N., Kavi, L., and Lobo, M. (2020) Postural Tachycardia Syndrome: A Concise and Practical Guide to Management and Associated Conditions. Springer.