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Vagal Nerve Disorder
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Vagal Nerve Disorder

My grandbaby is 5 months old, and since she was around 3 months old, when she gets hurt (say the older sister scratches her gum or pulls her arm too hard) she begins crying really really bad.  Then she begins to turn red in the face and starts to hold her breath.  We have had a Cat Scan, MRI, EEG and EKG done on her to see if there was any sign of seizures, but nothing showed up.  My sister is a nurse and she said it sounded like the vagal nerve.  We don't know anything about this, and when we mentioned it to the doctor, he didn't seem too interested in finding out if this is what it is.  Is there a reason to be concerned?  Will it hurt her in any way?  She doesn't hold her breath over 10 seconds - if that long.  Please help us.  We are scared for our baby and we don't know what recourse to take.  Thank you for your time.
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It is very unlikely someone would hold their breath to the point of exposing themselves to permanent damage.  There are reflexes within the body to prevent such an occurrence. That being said, you have been to a neurologist and there has been a pretty comprehensive set of tests done that would rule out many of the major disorders.  

If there continues to be symptoms, a referral to a pediatric neurologist at a major academic medical center should be considered for a second opinion.  

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Kevin, M.D.
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