Holly’s Fantastic Medical Synopsis for Disability


Art: Robin Mead

While applying for Social Security disability for POTS, Holly made this fantastic medical synopsis. Holly did not use a lawyer and was approved fully favorable the first time she applied. Holly took several great steps to help her application. Read Holly’s story: Holly Gets Approved for Disability in Six Months

Holly was kind enough to share her Medical Synopsis to help others who are applying.


  • Hyperadrenergic Postural Tachycardia Syndrome
  • Mast Cell Activation
  • Mitral Valve Prolapse
  • Patent Foramen Ovale with Atrial Septal Aneurysm
  • Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia
  • Supraventricular Tachycardia
  • Episodes of PVC’s
  • Hiatal Hernia
  • GERD
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Iron Overload

Current Medications

  • Tenex – To control heart rate without affecting blood pressure. Minimal success
  • Prilosec – GERD and Mast Cell Activation
  • Benadryl – Mast Cell Activation

Past Medications

Ineffective in controlling tachycardia:

  • Nadalol
  • Metoprolol
  • Propranolol
  • Midodrine
  • Dilitazem
  • Tenormin

Treating Physicians for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome

  • Diagnosis of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) by Dr. Larry Van Crisco at St. Joseph’s Hospital (a world leader in this syndrome and an interventional cardiologist) in 2014.
  • Diagnosis of POTS causing syncope and extreme tachycardia by Dr. Bobby Smith (EP Cardiologist at Piedmont) in 2016. Dr. Smith did not treat POTS and referred me to Vanderbilt University. 
  • Diagnosis of Hyperardrenergic POTS syndrome along with Mast Cell Activation by Vanderbilt University in May 2017. 
  • Current treating physician: Dr. Thomas Backer, Cardiologist at Vanderbilt University. 

Medical Procedures and Tests 

  • MRI – brain, cervical spine, and lower back. Heart MRI with contrast. (Name of lab, date of test, outcomes/medical findings)
  • CT scan – brain, spine (Name of lab, date of test, outcomes/medical findings)
  • Echocardiograms with and without contract and with bubble study (Name of labs, dates of tests, outcomes/medical findings)
  • Stress test – could not be completed due to extreme tachycardia (Name of lab, date of test)
  • 24 hour urine screen (Name of lab, date of test, outcomes/medical findings)
  • EKG (Name of lab, date of test, outcomes/medical findings)
  • Holter Monitor (Name of lab, date of test, outcomes/medical findings)

Functional Limitations

  • Unable to stand without severe tachycardia causing pre-syncope (I rarely fully pass out as I know when it is coming). Have had many syncope episodes in the past causing other injuries from the fall.
  • Unable to sit without legs elevated due to venous pooling and severe pain/swelling in legs.
  • Exercise intolerance due to severe tachycardia and muscle wasting due to years of inactivity.
  • Unable to drive due to sudden onset syncope/dizziness.
  • Personal hygiene and regular home cleaning: Can only bathe every other day (if possible) cannot shower and have to take a tub bath to sit. Unable to do anything other than very light cleaning (loading dishwasher). Cannot do laundry because it requires going down stairs. I can prepare a light meal with a stool to sit on in the kitchen. I have to have groceries delivered to my home.
  • Anxiety with leaving my home due to fear that I am going to pass out and embarrass/injure myself. I have left my home 2 times in the last 4 months and that was only with my husband by my side. 

Support Materials Enclosed with Application

  • Letter from Cardiologist
  • ADA disability accommodation records from previous employment
  • All medical record
  • All medical treatment notes
  • All medical test results

Testimonial (One Page or Less)

My name is Holly Brown, and I am applying for Social Security disability. 

I began my career at the State of Georgia in 1987 at age 19. I worked full-time and went to college full-time during the early years. I received my degree and was promoted through the ranks. I received nothing less that “far exceeds expectations” during my annual performance evaluations. 

In 2008, I became very ill with a viral infection. Upon my return to work, I began to experience other symptoms. I did not recover and continued in a downward spiral for many years. I went from a high functioning employee to one that was barely getting by.

I have been to no less than 10 Cardiologists searching for answers. I have also followed through with appointments with Neurologists, ENT’s, Gastro, and other physicians. I have had countless MRI’s, CT’s scans, etc. to try to determine the cause of my sudden onset syncope. Neurological conditions were ruled out. I am currently a patient with Dr. Thomas Backer, Cardiologist that works with Vanderbilt University to treat my condition. There is no cure and only hope for better control. 

I have been on every beta blocker there is without success. I have tried calcium channel blockers to control tachycardia and also did not work for me. The next step is to try a medication that lowers heart rate without lower blood pressure – this drug is Colarnor and is $533 out of pocket with insurance. I cannot afford this medication at this time.

A Note About Testimonials

It is not required to include a personal testimonial. If you choose to include one, it may be helpful to keep it brief and clear. Holly suggests, “Don’t write a book. No one will read it. Capture, state your business, and move on.”

Some people feel tempted to include long stories about their life history and all their struggles, or they want to write their own medical research papers explaining their condition. It is fine to include some background information, but it may be helpful to consider that very long letters may not be read and they will take up your time and energy, when there are so many other important things you can be doing to help your application.


We recently heard from a reader named Plumeria. Plumeria used Holly’s letter as a model and got approved in three months. You can read her story here: Plumeria’s Disability Cover Letter

Tools for Troublemakers

How To Make a Medical Outline to Help Your Disability Case

How to Fill Out an Adult Function Report

The Sleepy Girl Guide to Social Security Disability 

Thanks for Reading

🌸 Art on this page by Robin Mead and Elizabeth D’Angelo.

🌸 Page Updated: 10/1/19

🌸 To get daily updates on helpful disability services, and low income programs, follow us on Facebook: The Sleepy Girl Guide.

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5 thoughts on “Holly’s Fantastic Medical Synopsis for Disability”

  1. Thank you so much for this!!!! I have already been denied once and a lawyer who thought POTS isn’t a real diagnosis, blew me off. He didn’t think my traumatic brain injury was severe enough. Thank you,


  2. Great story. , very helpful info. My disability case was approved in 6 weeks, I’m not sure on how it happened so quickly, but I had university students studying masters in social work help me with my application after I had a traumatic brain injury.


  3. oh boy. i’m trying to write my letter now to the judge and over the course of weeks has turned into 9 pages long. i don’t have it in me to edit and feel it all has to be said! i will try and follow the template here. thank you


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