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Vasovagal syncope

I am a 36 year-old female in good health and the symptoms I am having began when I was in my early teens and have begun to be more frequent in the last few weeks.  The symtoms I experience occur only when I change positions ie. sitting to a standing position, knealing to a standing position. specifically I feel a tingling in my face, I lose my sight even though my eyes are open, the muscles in my extremities begin to have small seizure type reactions and depending on the severity of the episode I may either faint or remain standing but in either case I have no memory of the beginning of the episode. I also have shortness of breath which I can only describe as an inability to completely fill the lungs with a deep breath. A neurologist ruled out any seizure type disorders but performed a improptu experiment.. We knealt on the floor where he took my B.P. 104/60 after rising he took it again 155/90 but I began to pass out dispite the hearts attempt to pump enough blood to the brain. caffeine, and hot weather agravate the symtoms. I just returned from a echocardiogram, chest xray, and an ekg in order to rule out any heart defects. Could you tell me why this may be happening, are my symptoms indicative of vasovagal syncope, and do the symptoms become more apparent as a person ages? I have no health insurance and would like to eliminate any further tests that might not be appropriate given my symptoms. Any information you may be able to share would be greatfully appreciated! Sincerely, Brenda
14 Responses
238671 tn?1189755832
Almost everything you describe is consistent with vasovagal syncope, other than the blood pressure measurements by the neurologist. It should not get worse with ageing. All the tests that have been ordered thus far sound appropriate. If they are all unrevealing, the one other test that may shed light on your situation is a tilt table test. It is a more official way of doing what your neurolgist tried to do with your blood pressure and heart rate measurements. The test is performed by cardiac electrophysiologists and is pretty simple and inexpensive as far as tests go.
Avatar universal
I am trully relieved by your reply. If all the tests turn out to be neg. I will indeed request a tilt table test (sounds alittle midevil!) With reguards to your comments comcerning the results of the test performed by the neurologist...what might you have expected in terms of the changes in B.P. had it occured in someone who had tested positive for vasodepressor syncope. Thank-you again for the information you provide to everyone that writes! Brenda
Avatar universal
The difference of bp would be the oppsite, your bp would drop upon standing. I've had the tilt table test done on x2, the fist time my bp dropped to 72/38 and heart rate to 26, a couple of minutes after the first test was over. My dr suggest a pacemaker because of the HR going so low, prior it stayed in the 40 to 50 during the day, he was hoping it would up my BP also however the pacermaker didn't help the BP.I to have alot of PAC/PVC's. The tilt table test  was again performed and I stayed around the 80 to 90 over 40 to 50 range. no sudden drop upon the upright position, unlike it should when you have vasovagal, however that was my Dx, and I'm still not sure if that is what is wrong with me. Please if you feel there is something wrong with and your dr doesn't then don't stop there. Sometimes we know when there is something wrong  with us but the dr. thinks we are overacting. I feel as though they don't take us serious because of our age and we are female. See I am 39 and had a hard time making the dr's believe me until after the First tilt table test was over and they seen that I was telling the truth. I hope you find out what is wrong with you and get it treated. Don't assume anything I waited a year before I went because I thought my blood sugar was dropping .

Avatar universal
I'm  37 and suffered from the same symptoms as you, Brenda. I had all the tests, but no diagnosis, until I had a tilt table test. After 21 minutes at 80 degrees vertical I passed out. My heart stopped for 31 seconds. The Dr. jumped out of his chair to respond. My episodes are very sporatic; years between. Anyway I know have a rate adaptive pacemaker. But I question this...
Avatar universal
My brother is 33 years old and had a minor motorcycle accident without major injury.  In the am after the accident his heart stopped and he was revived with CPR.  They diagnosed him with vasovagal syncope and something like neuralcardio geno syncope?  He received an extremely sophisticated pacemaker the next day.  On his tilt test his heartrate went from 132 to 30 in 3 seconds before it stopped again.  The pacemaker put in 1/27 went off 254 times in one week.  If my brother bends down with the pacemaker his heart goes from 70 to 50 causing the pacemaker to go off.  They want to do another tilt test.  Is the electrophysiologist the last place to go?  Do you go to a neurologist?  My brother has suffered passing out episodes all his life (we thought he was squeemish)  They are always preceeded by extreme nauseau.  Will this damage his heart?  Did the accident cause more damage to the nerve?  Help, I'm worried.  My brother went from being an athlete to being afraid to cry at our uncle's wake.
Avatar universal
To all the vasovagal sufferers: I had a positive tilt table test but was also given an EP study to make sure that my syncope was not sick sinus syndrome or any other arrythmia, everything was normal and it has given me great peace of mind- maybe your Drs could consider it for you.  There is a drug which can up blood pressure (or at least stop it dropping) its called disopyramide- anyone tried it?
Avatar universal
I am responding to Lynn, the 39 year-old woman who submitted her information on Friday, January 21, 2000.  Your diagnosis sounds very similar to mine.  Hello, I am a 28 year old male and I also had 2 tilt-table tests.  Afterwards, they diagnosed me with a vaso-vagal nerve problem.  The first time, I blacked-out for 3 minutes & lost my pulse for 17 seconds.  They put a pacemaker in me and also thought this would take care of my blood-pressure(bp).  On the second tilt-table, my bp went from 115/75 to 92/38 and I passed-out for about a minute.  They put me on Atenolol to stop the episodes with the bp drop.  It's keeping me from passing-out, but I'm starting to have side-effects from the Atenolol.  I was curious to know what kind of medications they are using to treat your bp drop and how they have your pacemaker set.  Your situation sounds the closest to mine that I have heard.  Thanks in advance for your help!!!
Avatar universal
I am 29 years old and was diagnosed with vasovagal syncope 4 years ago.  The "episodes" began in my early teens.  After every fainting spell, my mother would take me to a physician to get my blood sugar checked. Ofcoarse it was always normal.  The spells are very sporadic.  I had fewer in my teen years than now.  I now have apporoximately 3-4 fainting spells per year.  Well I should just call them weak spells.  I feel the symptoms coming on....tunnel vision or no vision; echoed hearing; hot flashes; dizziness...etc.  I either sit or lie down and drink water and put cold,wet cloths on my neck.  Following the episode I usually feel sleepy and sometimes experience nausea.  Actually I had to lie down in a public resteraunt last night. Very embarassing! Luckily I was with close friends that are aware of my "syndrome"....not to mention I was relieved to be in a private dining room.  I am not on any meds for this.  The thought of being on medication forever was not an option that I wanted to consider @ 25yrs.....I may consider it someday in the future.  For now...my doctor has recommended keeping regular sleeping hours, plenty of exercise, and urinating frequently......yes I said urinating frequently.  If any other "fellow fainters" have any other suggestions to help get this under control...please share your findings. Thanks!!!
Avatar universal
To Heather, your fainting spells sound familiar to mine-except I always have overwhelming nausea with mine which often causes me to vomit (now that's embarrassing).  My DR told me to keep a bottle of water on hand and constantly drink it throughout the day (keeps the blood volume high) and I also find that when I feel a spell coming on, If I take deep breaths and wiggle my toes and fingers it can sometimes stop a faint.  good luck.
Avatar universal
A friend of mine have just done a vagal syncope.

We have a few questions about this syncope:

1. is there some specifics events or circumstances that induce
   vagal syncope? Is the vagal syncope predictible

2. how can the vagal syncope be cured or avoided?

3. What is the "tilt table test"?
Avatar universal
Hi,  I am a 22 year old college student.. I have been having fainting spells for about 7 years now.... Well, on August 17, 1996.... I was diagnosed with vasovagal syncopy... I went through all different types of tests... I had EEGs, EKGs, holter monitor test, echocardigram, and a lot more... they finally administered a table tilt test... I found that it sometimes occurs when I hyperventilate when I am upset.  But sometimes it just happens.  They never gave me any medication.  They basically just said well Nadia, you just have to live with this for the rest of your life. Before my testings, I was having my episodes about 4-5 times a year.  I now have then maybe 1-2 times a year.  I really wish that one day good research will be done and we can receive a good answer to our problems and vanish them away.  I will be a 5 year senior next fall and will graduate in May 2001.  I then am going to further my education with a Masters degree.  I am planning on doing my thesis on vasovagal syncopy so if anyone would like to be a part of my research you can contact me at ***@****.  Now the research actually won't happend probably for 2 more years, but I know this is not to common of a disorder and would like to do research.  I will be developing a web site soon to ask other people to participate also.  I am sorry for everybody's problem with this and I have it as well.. but some of you take medications, I don't.  I just live with it day by day.  Please contact me to participate.
Avatar universal
As someone who has possibly had a vasovagal attack, could anyone comment on the following.

I was at work, when suddenly, I blacked out for a couple of minutes. This happened almost a fortnight ago. Apparently, I was sweaty, and reawoke with pins and needles in the fingers in my right hand + a slight numbness in my face, causing the corner of my mouth to droop slightly. This all cleared up within a couple of hours of this happening, leaving me fine generally, but even now, I still feel tired mid-afternoon.

No abnormalities were registered either in the blood tests,nor in the echocardiogram, and my general practioner says that it was not a Transient Ischemic attack (thank the Lord), but rather thinks that it was a vasovagal attack. Does this sound familiar to anyone else out there?

Has anyone been diagnosed originally with suspected Transient Ischemic Attack, only to have been later told that it was a Vasovagal attack?

Is it related to smoking, and are there any precautions to stop it from re-occurring? (This is the first time that this has happened). More importantly, what are the reasons for the attack in the first place.

Looking forward to hearing from anyone who could possibly comment - please write to david.***@****

Many thanks in advance.

Avatar universal
A few months ago I was diagnosed with vasovagal syncope.  I am 16 years old, and have had episodes all my life.  If I change positions, such as from sitting to standing, I have an episode.  Since I was so young when these episodes started (For as far back as I have memories, I can remember having these episodes)I always thought they were normal and that everyone experienced what I did.  As I got older I began to realize that this wasn't normal, but it wasn't until about 6 months ago that I finally told my parents about it.  I had always disguised my episodes, so they never knew that there was something wrong with me.  
The doctor performed a tilt table test, and the results came back positive.  He put me on two medications (one was a beta blocker, I forget what the other was) but I hated taking 7 pills since I'm so young, plus they barely worked.  He then recommended socks that encourage blood flow (like old people wear).  These don't work, either.  He mentioned a pacemaker, but made it clear that he didn't think I was severe enough to get one.
I wear the socks on really bad days, but I'm just not getting the results I'd like.  I have a question for any of you who may be able to help me.  Have any of you ever heard of dogs helping with this condition?  I'm convinced that being around dogs helps me, although after hours of searching online, I can't find anything that talks about animals helping control vasovagal syncope.  Please let me know if anybody knows anything.  

PLease send all comments to:
614975 tn?1220984367
A related discussion, VasoDepressor Syncope and Seizures was started.
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