(NEXSTAR) – The producers of “Jeopardy!” have apologized for using an offensive term to describe a medical condition after several viewers voiced their complaints about a clue included on Monday’s episode.
The clue concerned postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or POTS, a condition of the nervous system that affects the blood flow of patients. The clue, as read by guest host Savannah Guthrie, was presented as follows: “Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome is also known as Grinch syndrome because this organ is too small.”
“What is the heart?” was the response the show’s judges were after.
Viewers took to Twitter to call out “Jeopardy!” for using the insensitive term. Many also noted that the clue itself was inaccurate, as those with POTS do not have smaller hearts, but rather difficulties balancing blood pressure and heart rates, among other symptoms, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
“Grinch syndrome is an offensive term,” read one response posted to Twitter by Dysautonomia International, an organization that raises awareness for disorders of the nervous system. “Can you imagine Jeopardy making light of cancer or MS patients with a ‘funny’ name for their debilitating health condition? Not acceptable. We’d love to see real questions about the autonomic nervous system.”
On Tuesday afternoon, “Jeopardy!” tweeted an apology:
POTS, a condition affecting circulation, is described as a form of “orthostatic intolerance” by the Cleveland Clinic. Symptoms in POTS patients are said to be brought on by standing upright from a reclined position, and can include racing heartbeats, dizziness, fainting, chest pain and blurred vision, among several others.
POTS affects between 1 and 3 million Americans—mainly women—per the Cleveland Clinic. Researchers say some patients have even developed POTS after recovering from COVID-19, as POTS can be triggered by bacterial or viral infections, according to Johns Hopkins.