Exeter man living with rare heart disease spreads awareness

READING, Pa. – Rapid heart beat, dizziness and fainting: Derek Evans had no clue what was happening.

“I went to numerous doctors and some told me it was a viral infection, I’ll get over it. Some told me maybe it’s just anxiety,” said Evans.

“It was really scary,” said Evans. “I think the scariest thing was before I got the diagnosis, because I really didn’t know what was going on.”

Evans has since been diagnosed with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or POTS.

“Tachycardia means fast heart beat,” said Dr. Bill Finneran, a cardiologist at Reading Hospital. “It’s a pretty rare disease, but it may affect up to 500,000 Americans. Nothing you can really do that causes it. Nothing you can do to prevent it. Some people just have it.”

Evans was living with it and managed it well, until recently, while working as a manager for a rental car company.    

“Coming back from Shoemakersville, coming back to the office one day, my heart was flying. I had to pull over,” he said. “Next thing I know I blacked out. I woke up via ambulance getting transported to Reading Hospital.”

His condition resurfaced. It forced him to quit his job. He decided he needed to share his story through a book: ‘So Close to Death, Yet so Far Away.’

“Once I resigned, I was frustrated,” he said. “It felt like every time I was making a step forward in life, this POTS would come back and hold me…

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