Test developed to help with long-term COVID

A home test has now been developed to help those suffering for long COVID and other conditions.

The adapted Autonomic Profile (aAP) test can be done by anyone with symptoms of autonomic dysfunction relating to conditions such as COVID, chronic fatigue, diabetes or other conditions where people experience dizziness or blackouts.

With patients now able to self-monitor and make adjustments to their lifestyles, its hoped that it will reduce demands on NHS resources. Previously tests were done in a hospital, with patient heart rates monitored and blood pressure measured while lying on a tilt table and manoeuvred from horizontal to vertical. By enabling monitoring at home, it is hoped that patients will be able to better understand triggers for their symptoms and self-manage their conditions long-term.

Speaking of the advantage of these home tests, Dr Joanna Corrado from the School of Medicine in Leeds said, “The test enables capturing symptoms, making adjustments and avoiding fluctuations as much as possible. This can be very empowering for patients.”

The aAP began development during the COVID-19 pandemic to avoid patients needing to attend a hospital appointment, adhering to guidelines around social distancing. Unlike other standardised tests, the new method does not require patients to restrict themselves from caffeine, nicotine or certain medications, instead allowing patients to record changed and fluctuations within their daily lives.

Developers behind the aAP were led by Dr Manok Sivan, Associate “Clinical Professor at the Leeds School of Medicine. Dr Sivan was Europe’s leading advisor on the treatment of COVID-19, and led the development of the C19-YRS (Yorkshire Rehabilitation Scale) which was one of the first long COVID measures.

Dr Sivan explained: “There are two million individuals with long COVID in the UK and it is estimated more than a third of them might have altered functioning of the autonomic nervous system.”

Dr Sivan added that the the new test “gives people with long COVID easy access to diagnosis” with the ability to monitor symptoms from home, and “gives reliable evidence of the situations that trigger their symptoms.”