Vasovagal Syncope

1 What is Vasovagal Syncope?

Vasovagal syncope occurs when a person faints suddenly after sight of blood or extreme emotional conditions. During vasovagal syncope blood pressure and heart rate decreases causing reduced blood flow to the brain and loss of consciousness.

Vasovagal syncope is harmless and requires no treatment but one may harm themselves during an episode of vasovagal syncope. Doctor will recommend certain tests to know the underlying cause of vasovagal syncope.

2 Symptoms

Before the episode of vasovagal syncope following symptoms are experienced:

  • pale skin,
  • light headedness,
  • field of vision narrows,
  • nausea,
  • feeling warm,
  • cold sweating,
  • yawning,
  • blurred vision.

Bystander will notice the following symptoms:

  • jerky abnormal movements,
  • weak pulse,
  • dilated pupils.

Recovery after vasovagal syncope episode will start as soon as 1 minute. Standing up immediately after the episode of vasovagal syncope will increase risk of fainting again.

3 Causes

Vasovagal syncope is caused when part of the nervous system that regulates heartbeat and blood pressure malfunctions in response to a trigger, such as sight of blood. Heartrate slows and blood vessels of lower extremities widen. Decreasing atrial blood pressure. The both factors decreased heart rate and low blood pressure result in low blood reaching the brain resulting in loss of consciousness.

Some of the common triggers of vasovagal syncope include: standing ling periods of time, heart exposure, seeing blood, having blood drawn, fear of blood injury and staining such as bowel movement.

4 Making a Diagnosis

Diagnosis of vasovagal syncope includes ruling out possible causes of fainting, particularly heart related problems. Some of the following tests are done to determine functioning of heart they include:

  • Electrocardiogram- this test records electrical signals produced by heart by leads attached on the skin of patient. It can determine irregular heart rhythms and other cardiac problems.
  • Echocardiogram- this test uses ultrasound waves to view heart and look for abnormal conditions such as valve problems that can cause fainting.
  • Exercise stress test- this test includes study of heart rhythm while performing some work or dimple exercise.
  • Blood tests- doctor will look for conditions such as anemia which can cause fainting.
  • Tilt table test- in this test patient is laid down on a table, the table changes its position, tilting in various angles, a technician monitors heart rate and looks for changes in blood pressure in different angles.

5 Treatment

In most cases of vasovagal syncope treatment is unnecessary. Doctor will help patient identify fainting triggers and discuss ways to avoid them. However, if patient has high frequency of vasovagal syncope episodes following treatments are available:

  • Medications- drug called fludrocortisone acetate that’s normally used to treat low blood pressure will be helpful to treat low blood pressure and can prevent vasovagal syncope.
  • Therapies- to reduce accumulation of blood in lower extremities doctor will recommend some foot exercise’s, wearing compression stockings or tensing leg muscles while standing. Increase of salt in the diet is recommended to keep blood pressure elevated.
  • Surgery- people who haven’t benefited from other treatments they undergo a surgery to place a pacemaker which maintains the heartbeat and reduces chance of vasovagal syncope episode.

6 Prevention

Vasovagal syncope can be prevented by avoiding triggers. One must know about triggers which can cause vasovagal syncope. If at all a person faces trigger placing the head between knees or sitting until the pressure feels normal must be done to prevent fainting.

7 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

Alternative remedies include consulting a psychologist to reduce the chance of fainting while encountering episode of vasovagal syncope.

Self-hypnotizing is another method which can help reduce the chance of vasovagal syncope.

8 Lifestyle and Coping

Lifestyle doesn’t change in minor cases of vasovagal syncope episode. There is always a constant threat of trigger with episode of vasovagal syncope. This might lead to a depressive state of patient.

Constant monitoring of situation and seeking help of a professional to avoid the triggers will help reduce the risk of vasovagal syncope. There are many support groups available which can help patient cope up with vasovagal syncope.

9 Risks and Complications

There are several risks and complications associated with vasovagal syndrome.

Risk factors include small children and women.

Complications of vasovagal syncope can be dangerous if the episode stays for long period of time. There might be irreversible damage by reduced blood flow and less oxygen supply to brain.

Some of the motor functions of brain can be lost completely depending on the severity of brain damage occurred due to hypoxia. In worst cases damage to respiratory center in brain will lead to paralysis of breathing and death of patient may occur.

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