Vasovagal Syncope

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Biology 202
2003 Second Web Paper
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Vasovagal Syncope

Laurel Jackson

My best friend "Dirk" can easily be picked out of a crowd. His 6'7 stature, impressive muscle mass, very blond hair, big blue eyes, and booming voice cause many people to stare at him-once, in Europe, a Japanese couple asked if they could take a picture of him. Addicted to weight lifting and athletics, my friend does not always enjoy admitting that he is a computer engineer-yes, my 22-year-old buddy is still afraid of the geek label. There is something else to which Dirk will not readily admit-he faints at the sight of blood. In fact, many things can trigger his fainting spells: blood, vomit, overheating, etc.

Dirk lives next door to my parents; we grew up together. Recently, he and my sister ran over from his house to ours, which is a distance of about 50 feet. My sister had not worn shoes; when they got to our house, they walked through two rooms before Dirk got dizzy. My sister had cut her foot, and the blood that had spread over the tile floor made Dirk turn his head away, and sit down. My mother ran to the rescue-Dirk's, not my sister's. She helped him breath deeply, and luckily he avoided fainting.

A few Christmases ago, Dirk caught a stomach virus. He made it to the bathroom just in time, but seconds after vomiting, he fell to the floor, and blocked the door. His parents frantically tried to open the door, they tried to revive him by screaming for probably five minutes, which seemed like an eternity to them at the time. Eventually they revived him.

The summer before that Christmas, Dirk was golfing with his high school's golf team on a hot July afternoon. At the end of the course, he and his coach walked to the parking lot. All of a sudden, Dirk toppled like a tree onto the pavement, suffering a concussion on top of fainting. Dirk's condition is called vasovagal syncope. Stubborn as he is, he often gets angry with his mother, a nurse, for fussing over him. But his mother knows from 22 years of experience that whether it is a particularly hot and humid day, or it is receiving a vaccination, Dirk will pass out unless he takes the proper precautions-resting, breathing deeply, and staying hydrated.

Vasovagal Syncope, also known as fainting, neurocardiogenic syncope, and neurally mediated syncope, is a very common condition, occurring in roughly half of all people at least once within their life; three percent of the population develops it repeatedly. It is not a serious condition.(2) A vasovagal response involves a decrease in the volume of blood that is returned to the heart, which enervates the baroreceptors(2) in the sympathetic nervous system to increase the force of each contraction of the heart. Consequently, the opposing parasympathetic nervous system is alerted to slow the heart rate and dilate the surrounding veins and arteries. These responses of the nervous system cause the blood pressure to drop very low, causing syncope (loss of consciousness).(1) Most patients are young and healthy, although vasovagal syncope can occur in the elderly population that has preexisting cardiac problems. Extremely hot weather and blood-alcohol levels are typical triggers. Some patients suffer from several, often attacks, while others may only experience them sporadically.(3)

While standing, the blood tends to settle in the legs. Maintaining the position for a long time can decrease blood pressure, which means that the brain may not receive proper blood supply. Lack of sufficient oxygen and nutrients can lead to syncope. In general, people do not pass out from standing upright. Mechanisms within the body control blood pressure. In a condition such as vasovagal syncope, the mechanisms do not perform their functions in the appropriate manner, misfiring, over-firing, or under-firing. Faulty mechanisms in the nervous system make syncope a possibility.(3) The mechanisms occur in everyone as we adjust to a new posture. Those with vasovagal syncope have an abnormal reflex to this information-there is an inundation of the messages from the barorecptors, and this overcompensation causes the halting of messages sent from the brain to constrict vessels, and the reverse is communicated, vessels dilate, less blood reaches the brain, and fainting ensues.(2)

In general, physicians use the tilt table test to determine if a diagnosis is necessary. The patient is placed in a quiet room, on either a hydraulic lift of swinging bed that can rotate between 60º and 90º, moving the patient from supine to head-up position. Heart rate and blood pressure are monitored throughout the test. Although some variation in technique exists within practicing physicians, the patient is usually monitored in the supine position for five minutes, and baseline heart rate and blood pressure measurements are taken. Next, the patient is moved into the head-up tilt position, and changes in blood pressure and heart rate, and the appearance of symptoms are noted every three to five minutes. If the patient experiences syncope, the patient is returned to the supine position, and they are considered diagnosable. If no symptoms of vasovagal syncope are recorded after at least ten minutes, often the tilt test is attempted again, this time giving the patient isoproterenol, which often shortens the amount of time before syncope occurs. When isoproterenol is used, physicians usually require a loss of consciousness in the patient in order to support a diagnosis of vasovagal syncope.(4)

Medicinal treatments include beta-blockers, fludrocortisone, midodrine, and SSRIs (selective seratonin reuptake inhibitors). Beta-blockers block the adrenaline system, preventing the abnormal reflex of the sympathetic nervous system that precedes the decrease of blood pressure. Fludrocortisone sends a message to the kidneys to retain more salt and water, thus increasing blood pressure. Midodrine tightens blood vessels. SSRIs are usually used in the treatment of depression or anxiety, but they also block the communication in the brain that triggers the blood vessels to open further.(2)

Instead of subjecting themselves to medications, patients with vasovagal syncope tend to choose lifestyle changes, and in most cases, this is all that is necessary for controlling the condition. Both recognizing their personal triggers, and learning to recognize when an episode is about to occur are necessary; an increase in the amounts of water and salt intake can prevent attacks. Blood is primarily composed of water and salt, so by increasing the amount of each, blood pressure may rise, possibly preventing syncope. More of both are needed especially in hot weather, or when vigorous exercise is performed.(2)

Patients who seek treatment outside of modern medicine often turn to licorice root, also known as sweet root. One of the active ingredients is glycyrrhizic acid. It has been used worldwide for thousands of years to treat a variety of ailments. Recent studies have shown that is useful in the treatment of heart disease. When consumed in large quantities, licorice root can raise the level of aldosterone found in the blood. Although this would be considered negative in most individuals, the increase of aldosterone can increase blood pressure, which is helpful in those with vasovagal syncope. If blood pressure increases around the time of a vasovagal episode, the constriction might counteract the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system, reducing the chance of syncope.(5)

Although vasovagal syncope is not a serious medical condition, those who suffer from its effects, like Dirk, cannot write off its impact on their lives. Tough guy to the core, he believes that taking beta-blockers or any other medication would be admitting that he is incapable of controlling himself. As I researched vasovagal syncope for this paper, I tried to explain the physiological processes that occurred in the body that had nothing to do with personal choice, and all though he was interested, he still maintains that he can control the episodes. I hope that this paper proves to everyone else who does not have a hard head that vasovagal syncope is not a matter of choice, apart from the choice of exposure incidents. I have asserted throughout this paper that vasovagal syncope is not a serious condition; it does, however, provide an interesting platform for research. I assumed, when I began researching, that I would find evidence of scientific research apart from merely understanding the process of syncope. Much of the knowledge seems to have been gleaned from observation of drug effects, so there has been no treatment specifically designed to treat vasovagal syncope. Perhaps more research will lead to more conclusive knowledge about the condition.

References

1)Med Help International, This website offers a forum for those with medical questions, allowing them to ask the advice of a physician.

2)London Cardiac Institute, This organization provides information to patients on several conditions. The patients are referred to the pages by their physicians.

3)Karen Yontz Women's Cardiac Awareness Center, Health Wise Physician's Corner provides information about several medical conditions.

4)Tilt Table Test

5)Health and Age

 

 

Continuing conversation
(to contribute your own observations/thoughts, post a comment below)

10/01/2005, from a Reader on the Web

Laurel Jackson's article about her friend Dirk's vasovagal syncope was helpful to me, as I have had about 10 such episodes in my life, maybe more, and mostly due to intense abdominal pain. The last 3 episodes (in 3 years) have included seizure-like symptoms, and even if I lay down on the floor when I feel a faint coming on, I still go out. I'm looking for more info about the abdominal pain trigger. thanks Linda Khandro


11/19/2005, from a Reader on the Web

To Laurel Jackson author of Vasovagal Syncope: The article you wrote was very helpful. My situation is very similar to Dirk's but yet a little different. I recently had an episode of Vasovagal Syncope and then spoke to my doctor about it a few days later. It was the first time anyone had ever give me a name for the condition. Although I had been having episodes of Vasovagal Syncope from the age of 12-48, I hadn't had one in 14 years. I thought maybe I had outgrown it. Unlike the article you wrote, of the approximate 15 times I've passed out, in all but 1, I threw up immediately following passing out. And threw up and threw up, etc. In several cases, I passed out again several more times in the next few hours and continued to throw up. Three or 4 of the last 4 times, I've ended up going to the emergency room because I was so nauseated and couldn't eat or drink anything without throwing up. In the emergency room, they gave me IVs to replenish my fluids. Within a few hours I felt great and had no further symptoms. It seemed as if passing out way the way my body forced me to throw up. So, if I threw up it seemed like I wouldn't pass out. This last time it caught me by surprise. I felt like I had to throw up that morning when I got up, but I passed out before I had the chance to throw up. My concern is how to live with Vasovagal syncope without ending up in the emergency room with each episode. I naturally have fairly low blood pressure. It normally averages around 105 over 65. It seems like my body can't increase my blood pressure level naturally. You also mentioned that dehydration can cause it, but how can you rehydrate when you keep throwing up. If you anyone has any suggestions I would welcome them. Nancy Beckman


11/29/2005, from a Reader on the Web

I haved searched high and low for answers to this condition.I have had 3 episodes this year once having to get stitches put in my head from banging into a coffee table.All these episodes of blacking out were all accompaniedby intense abdominal pain.It is an embarrassing condition.The last time I blacked out it took about 15 minutes to be revived,not to mention I had just started a new job and was working that day.All of these episodes had me hospitalized with no answers.Ihave also seen a neurologist and had tests done and nothing was determined.I just dont want to live my life this way not knowing when it will happen again.If anybody has this condition I would really like some support from others dealing with this.


01/01/2006, from a Reader on the Web

I just read an article by a student concerning Dick and his vasovagal syncope episodes. What I wanted to express is that although this condition is not life threatening it still can be potentially a dangerous situation. My mother was a nurse and firmly did not believe in pampering me, so when I was growing up and sometimes fainted she would just tell me to drink more water from now on. I never did find out why I would faint as often as I did until my early 50's when my aunt, who is also a nurse explained to me this condition. By that time I had several small scars on my face, numerous broken glasses, and a chipped front tooth- all the results of my falling when I faint. If I am lucky, I will faint on a carpet floor, but more likely I end up fainting on the bathroom floor and hitting my head on the bathtub or tile floor. It may sound like I faint all the time, but not really, usually averages once every yr. But if I had only known what it is and why it happens, I could have prevented my fainting long ago. Armed with this new information, I will be much more diligent to drink my water, watch out for the symptoms, and not stand for long periods of time. Thank you so much for articles like these. Gayland Leann Cotton


01/15/2006, from a Reader on the Web

Hi. I found this website randomly in a search for "vasovagal syncope" and after reading the article that was written about Dirk a big strong man with fainting episodes, I can totally sympathize with him. I am a 26 year old female who has been experiencing the same symptoms on and off since I was very young- which I have been calling "passing out"-but now that I've been an ER nurse for almost three years, I can tell you that I would not just accept such a condition as normal without completely researching it myself. Crazy thing is, I recently had such an episode a few hours ago after two years of not having had any syncopal episodes. The last fainting episodes I have experienced over the years were brought on by a classmate lanceting my fingertip during a bio lab where the room was extremely warm, direct trauma to my body where I banged my knee or elbow really hard against something sharp, severe abdominal cramps during menstruation, and most recently today it was triggered by going from hot to cold to hot environments and not having had any breakfast or fluids since the night before. I know that this is something that I can control now- but I want to educate people who feel this is abnormal that you are not alone. When I experienced it the first few times and my family or friends were around it was pretty scary for them. I would feel very dizzy and then lose consciousness and either drop to a chair and fall from it or if i was on the floor my eyes would roll back and I would fall and start twitching slightly as I have been told by witnesses. For the first 30seconds to one minute I wouldn't be able to hear anything going on around me...but then I start to come out of the blackout very slowly but hear loud buzzing in my ears and feel this paresthesia...pins and needles sensation all over my body...like I am there but not really there. After coming completely out of it five minutes later I would get up feeling very weak and tired...nauseous and vomiting..sometimes developing a headache which takes time to get over...a few hours to the whole day. I just wanted to share my experience and also give you these few tips- If you feel like you are experiencing the warning signals of an impending vasovagal syncopal episode--dizziness or feeling lightheaded,buzzing sensation in your ears,nausea,vomiting,visual disturbances after some emotional or physical stressor is introduced--- 1.DROP to the FLOOR...dont try to sit in a chair because you will fall off and end up injuring yourself. 2.PUT your HEAD between your KNEES if you are sitting on the floor and breathe slowly and deeply to try to prevent the episode. 3.If you can lay in a flat position you can let the blood go from your legs to your upper body and head--this will raise your blood pressure and prevent the syncopal episode from occurring most times. 4. Preventive Measures-Make sure you drink plenty of fluids like water,gatorade before going out to work or school in the morning. That does not include tea or coffee which dehydrate you and drop your blood pressure further!! Things with salt and water will increase your blood pressure. Try not to stand for long time periods-standing up in church for hours without sitting down, moderate to extreme exercise routines and not have any food or drink in your system periodically. 5.Get to an ER or your private doctor or neurologist if you do not feel well or can't recuperate after such an episode and make sure they rule out any cardiac related syncope which is a much worse situation than vasovagal syncope. 6. EKG,Head CT, MRI of the HEAD should all be normal if you have vasovagal syncope such as I did. Table tilt testing is another option I haven't tried but this is used for medically inducing the syncopal episode in the presence of healthcare professionals. Thanks for reading and stay healthy! Seema

 


Additional comments made prior to 2007
I am still trying to understand this vasovagal syncope. I have had A-fib and Tacycardia show up on some of my tests. I also have what they call Pill rolling tremors. I don't know if other people with this have these problems. I can't help but thinking maybe they are not finding something more that could be going on. If anyone else has these other problems with this I would love to know for peace of mind. I am only 27 and my quality of life is very poor because of constant symptoms at least 3 times a week. Any information would be greatly appreciated ... Alisha Broussard, 31 January 2006
Thanks for posting your paper. I used to be a chronic suffer of this crappy condition. Until diagnosed, I would experience the faint sensation several times a day. I felt weak and it seemed to be unrelenting. I struggled for two years terribly, confined to my bed for most of it. I remember my first experience of feeling faint around the age of 10 I am not 36. For the last three months I have been taking a blocker. I didn't start to feel better until I combined it with an anxiety medication and haven't had an episode since. I was never one for drugs, I too thought It was a sign of weakness but I am now so excited to have my life back ... Jody, 22 February 2006

I am a 56 year old woman who began mysterious blackouts in 1999. When witnessed they appeared to be seizures, so I was diagnosed with adult onset siezure disorder and promptly put on seizure medication. Although I have had 7 "episodes" since my first one, not all were witnessed, nor did I realize that while I was having seizures I was really "flat-lining." Following a car accident in a distant area from my home, a wonderful physician informed me, after studying my tests and taking my history that I had more than likely been misdiagnosed. After "failing" a tilt table test I was finally able to discover what was really wrong with me. I feel much better about being able to control these episodes now with education, beta blockers, and hydration. I was never aware that my low blood pressure could be a problem.. I am really angry that I spent 7 years of my life with the wrong diagnosis and the wrong meds. I look forward to controling my life from now on and NEVER having another episode ... Carol, 12 March 2006

 

 

Hi, after reading this I had to talk about my husband Tim who is 39 and has been having episodes for awhile noe. The worst part is my husband is a type a personality and the first time he had one we were fishing and he almost drowned because he fell overboard. We didnt realize what it was at the time but the nezt episode happened on a fight. He felt dizzy abd sick to his stomache and thought eh was going to passout. I was not with him during this flight and did not make any connection to the boat incident, until a couple of years later our fqamily was on a flight heading to a huge family cruise in San Juan- only 1 hour into the flight he panicked and passed out...more like seizures. It happened three times before they finally landed. And after tests done at home after returing, they diagnosed him with this vasovagus syncopy. Now two years after the cruise incident, he upon awakening is going down the stairs in the morning on the way to work and trips down the stairs....being in so much pain from the fall he tells my ten yr old to get me. Upom findng him he is laying in the kitchen completely unconsious yet with eyes open and talking incoherently. call 911 and his diagnosis is that the cat scan was okay...it must have been the fall that triggered the vasavagal syncopy....??? The worst part was my husband had no memory of the past two weeks immediatly after the incident. He could not tell me what day it was or that he had travelled to Arizona (and had an attack of kidney stones..which is quite memorable in my book) He was confused and kept asking the same questions. I understand the vasovagel nerve issue but why the confusion. His cat scan was normal so I am hoping it was just somehow related to the incident and his memory is returning...but being a self employed, type a peronality...I worry...alot. Just venting a little, since this happended today. Have to admit (between us) I thought the worst and thanked god for the outcome ... Laurel D, 19 September 2006

 

About four weeks ago now my husband had been real sick, then was out all day the next day in the heat and sun. He wasn't eating well or drinking and by the end of the day was absolutely worn out. (Looking for car parts with family)

When he got home, we talked for about 20 minutes then he went to shower. Upon standing up from taking his underwear off, he passed out. No biggy (sorta)but he went into what looked like a seizure. We both work with students who have epilepsy and I thought instantly that's what it was. It was followed by odd behavior as he "came out of it" like talking about stuff that wasn't there and blissfully telling me things were OK and smiling way too much. I thought he had had a gran mal, then complex partial seizure.

Once we got to the hospital he was completely normal. They ran all the appropriate tests and told us it seemed like vasovagal. I was still concerned but nonetheless happy. We are having our first child and seizure disorder, well....that would be a tough one for both of us.

After we got home though, he had another weird small "faint" - he was going the bathroom then went to get on the bed and passed out a little. Then when I found him in only a few seconds, he was talking a little crazy again. Slightly slurred speech. So I took him back to the hospital. He came out of it quickly and was again fine at the hospital, but I was so worried.

He was diagnosed there with epilepsy. We were to follow up with a neurologist but the hospital doctor, the same one who diagnosed vasovagal and nothing more, was now certain it was seizures.

My husband, while on the seizure medication continued to have these weird blackouts and then recoup with nonsense while talking. Sometimes he would just very gentle lose his awareness and come back. Usually completely fine and unaware of what happened. Once he has tingly hands afterwards.

For five days he had these weird episodes that happened usually while standing or sitting. One time he was propped up against the bed in a half seating/recline. That's where he had his longest one. 30 seconds of odd movements on the ground and completely blacked out. Then just popped out of it and had no recollection it happened.

On the 6th day, the day we saw the neurologist, they suddenly stopped and have gone away since. He's now back at work and we are slowly taking him off the meds. Our family physician, neurologist and several doctors since then have said it just never seemed like a true seizure but were at a lost as to what I was seeing. However very much aware it seemed a lot like vasovagal.

All tests: MRI, CTs, two EEG's, blood and everything came back normal. He never responded to the meds like he would've if it were seizures. I am almost completely convinced now it is vasovagal because of other peoples information of symptoms.

My husband it 22, completely healthy and fit and we just got out of the Army. But by being severely sick one night and depriving himself of sleep, food and water all day the next for something like car parts put us on this path of hearing "epilepsy" come up again and again. Now hopefully, with everyone basically agreeing (myself included knowing what I saw and watched several times) maybe this "thing" my husband suffered through now has a real name everyone can agree on ... Cherish, 4 October 2006

 

Reading of others' vaso-vagal syncope episodes has been very encouraging to me. Aside from George Bush Sr. (remember when he passed out and threw up at that banquet in Japan years ago?), I didn't know anybody else who has this condition. I've had a total of 7 episodes in my life, but am concerned because their frequency has been increasing lately. Fortunately, I've only sustained one injury after a faint (fell off a chair onto the floor, hit my head and got a black eye), but the fear of another is very troubling. My latest episode was the first time I woke up having urinated instead of thrown up. (Both equally embarrassing.) Now I'm finding that even a week after this episode, I still feel vaguely nauseous off and on, lightheaded and dizzy, afraid that I'm going to pass out again. I've been drinking my usual stomach-calmer, ginger ale, and have added Gatorade to my diet to increase salt intake. Can anyone recommend any other ways to get rid of this persistent nausea? Or does this mean that I haven't recovered from this latest episode? ... Jane Trucksis, 10 October 2006

 

I see lots of postings looking for answers or further research. Has anyone received a response. I too have a serious vasovagal reflex. I had a comprehensive work up last year in 05 including tilt table tests, echos, holter monitor, CT of my head. It was aggravating because even after trying meds, i still failed the tilt test. Yesterday was the first time I have had an episode WHILE LAYING DOWN with my knees up. I was in the process of getting an MRI with contrast for my shoulder. The needle was in my shoulder and I was doing fine. Then of course the symptoms started coming.

I passed out and the nurse said I had seizure symptoms, which I have had in the past but any sort of seizure disorder was ruled out. I was out longer than normal, 30-40 seconds. My problem goes a step futher. WHEN I PASS OUT, MY HEART STOPS. I always come back, so far, but this time it was longer than normal.

I'm a 27 year old seemingly normal professional. I have got to solve this. Hypnosis? Psyche? Magic? I am open for comments... suggestions ... Gregg Field, 7 December 2006

 

Hello. I am Karri Kreilick. I am 13 years old and the tilt table test is for anyone..at any age! I am from ohio and I have neurocardiogenic syncope.

I just recently had the tilt table test done. That is a very successful test and it helps. I have to take FLUDROCORTISONE for the rest of my life. I have been fainting ever since before Kindergarten. I really think that neurocardiogenic syncope has really affected my life in many ways. Its very hard for me to do things such as play sports, run, breathe, and much much more.

I was just going to say that the tilt table test is very successful and that if there is someone out there that you know that has fainting episodes about every now and then, than refer them to go to their doctor and recommend the TILT TABLE TEST ... Karri Kreilick, 11 December 2006

 

 

The information about Dirk was good to hear. I want to find out more about Licorce Root though. I have Neurocardiogenic Syncope. I was diagnosed on May 30,2006. It is true that you shouldn't try to sit while fainting if possible. I have however learned how to faint while seating up without falling by leaning against a wall or something on the side of me like a table or countertop. I faint mostly from losing blood either through injury or through having my period. I have fainted one while moving my bowels, and once by getting stitches removed. This is a serious medical concern for all who have it. I myself consider it an severe medical problem because it means I can't do most jobs. I do try to exercise, eat right and drink plenty of fluids. I hope this helps somebody out there ... Mary Casey, 14 December 2006

 

 

I AM SO BLESSED TO SEE THIS ARTICLE. I RECENTLY HAD AN EPISODE I WAS TOLD IT WAS THE VASOVAGAL NERVE. EMBARASSING ENOUGH IT FELT LIKE I HAD TO USE THE RESTROOM AS SOON AS I SAT DOWN TO DO MY BUSINESS.I HIT THE FLOOR. ALL MY EPISODE HAVE BEEN SOMEWHAT SIMILAR, AND I HAVE INJURED MYSELF. I HAVE ALSO BEEN TOLD IT WAS CAUSED FROM BEING SLEED DEPRIVED. UNTIL THIS YEAR I NEVER KNEW THE NAME OF THIS NOT SO SERIOUS CONDITION. THE THING ABOUT IT IS THAT IT IS A CONDITION NONE THE LESS. IT IS SOMETIMES SCARY, AND EVEN THOUGH YOU HAVE THE LESS THAN A MINUTE WARNING. BEFORE I PASS OUT I SCREAM. I HATE IT. THE LAST TIME I HAD THE EPISODE MY HUSBAND WAS THERE AND MY 2 YEAR OLD. WHEN I WOKE MY HUSBAND WAS OVER ME ,BUT THEN I HEARD MY SON CALLING ME AS WELL. HE WAS SCARED ... Subrina Blue, 25 February 2007

 

 

Thanks for the article by Laurel Jackson on Vasovagal Response. My husband has had three of these episodes during our ten year marriage. During stitches in the ER or minor office surgery at the dermatologists, I at first thought it might be a reaction to the Lidocaine or dehydration. The last proceedure (March 15, '07) in the dermtologists office, the doctor called it a vasovagal response. After research on the internet, I feel that all his episodes were vasovagal. We have prevented his passing out completely by lowering his head to flat, encouraging deep breaths, cool cloths on his forehead, applying oxygen in one situation and smelling salts were also used another time. Certainly being well hydrated in the future before a proceedure will be helpful ... Carole Lusser, 16 March 2007

 

 

This is a very interesting article. In the past two years I've "passed out" twice. Once with stomach pains and the second time from hitting my elbow extremely hard. Knowing to drink plenty of fluids and possibly some extra salt is extremely useful. Thank you for this article! ... Reader on the web, 20 October 2007

 

 

Hello; My name is Sylwia and I'm writing this letter behave my cousin Natalia. Natalia lives in Poland and after many months she was diagnosed with "vasovagal". It was something new to me and my family. She was passing out few times per day, every day. Many times she was landing in a hospital because her heart stopped beating. Few times the doctors had to preside with reanimation and electric shocks. Now she is 18 and because of the fact that she is sick, she can't attend to school anymore. She is still passing out, however not that often as when she was attending school. I'm very concern about her and her health. The doctors in Poland said that they can't do anything. The only hope for Natalia is to wait and see. There is a possibility that when she grow up, she will get better. I'm asking you if you can help my nice Natalia with your knowledge. Maybe there is something that can be done now. The prospective of "just waiting" is really horrible. Natalia is a really great, beautiful and smart person. She is full of live and she deserves a great future ... Sylwia, 2 January 2008

Comments

Liz's picture

Hi DH...I am happy to say

Hi DH...I am happy to say that there are some really good pages on Facebook now. I have just 'liked' a couple more tonight and what is great is that you can get a response really quickly and support of course. Either type in Vasovagal or Neurocardiogenic which it is known by too. Didn't even find that out until last week.

Probably the main reason your son (and the other response below) gets an episode with alcohol is because of it's affect on blood pressure...anyway - both of you need to go to these sites to get some solid information

PS: It definitely effects your mood, that I can confirm. It can make you depressed, stressed and fearful. All of which I am beginning to manage better now that I am seeing a phycologist who is helping me manage not only the way I feel about the syndrome but manage a better way of life. Good Luck

M A's picture

Well honestly im happy to

Well honestly im happy to hear that im not the only one who gets eppisodes when i drink. I am 17 and havn't heard of anyone else feeling like that until now. But it only happens in high(er) concentrations to me. Like a beer wouldnt neccesarily do it, but 3 or 4 might. Another thing that REALLY makes it worse to me is anestisiea, or marijuana. Im really not sure why these substances have caused this bad reaction, but i know i feel the same way, except for a MUCH longer period of time. I havnt actually passed out from it, but i get really sick. I don't know of anyone else who has experienced this and all my doctors havn't told me anything so i regret to inform you that i cant help, but confide in the fact that i know what its like. Good luck.

Tiffany 's picture

Glad I'm not the only one

I have had negative experiences with drinking and smoking pot. Especially at the same time. It's not something I've done in YEARS since it seemed to trigger severe anxiety attacks..I literally thought I was going to die. I've blacked out before while being totally concious..probably due to drop in blood pressure. It's so scary. I was diagnosed with VVS about 17 years ago and it was something that was brand new and nothing was known about it. My teenage years were hell and unfortunately people just don't like to deal with people who are 'sick' all the time. It's nice to know I'm not alone, but I wish we knew more about this condition. Never thought of looking on Facebook for a VVS group..what a great idea!

Liz's picture

Fear Factor

I had no idea that so many people were sufferers of this syndrome! I had never heard of it until 3 months ago. My first "episode" was in the dentist chair whilst being given a shot of lignocaine by the hygienist and being lectured about being a smoker...she just would not stop. I am a nervous patient as it is and the nerves on top of a very poorly given injection on top of a lecture was making me both upset and angry. About 15 seconds of the injection my heart just raced and was pumping like mad...I was lying down...I told the girl to stop...she thought I was having a panic attack I think and when I started to feel a little better after 5 minutes she started on me again...another episode started and just told her to get someone else...I instinctively raised my legs and another nurse came in and held them up...this was going on for a least an hour and they still thought it was a panic attack. I s'pose I can't blame them for thinking that but it was coming in waves. I was laying in this chair for at least an hour without them doing anything of any use (apart from a senior dental tech gave me oxygen) and in the end I asked them to call by doctor who in turn said get an ambulance. The hospital thought it was "a reaction to the lignocaine.

The second time it happened I was at work and sitting down...1st Aiders called the ambulance. This time the diagnosis was "Benign Vertigo". The 3rd time it happened they thought it was a virus. These 3 episodes all happened within a space of about 2 months.

Finally saw another doctor in my practice who got me an appointment with a cardiologist and eventually after the Echo, Stress Test and 2 months later a Tilt Table Test (yuck!) It was confirmed as VVS.

I s'pose in total I have had 10 episodes in 6 months and I hate it. I am lucky that I do not pass out and have sufficient warning to get myself on the floor etc etc etc. but none the less I find it frightening. They are of course concerned at work, especially about me driving (duty of care and all that) but I am now concerned that I might lose my job over this...thing...so totally depressed.

Just had another blood test last week to check me out before starting me on Florinef, oh and to top it off I have hypothyroidism.

Saying all this I am glad to have found this site so I will keep checking in and comparing notes etc...the question that keeps rattling around in my head though is "If I hadn't gone the dentist that day. If I hadn't had this stand in Hygienist. would this ever have started?

thanks

Starla's picture

Diagnosed yesterday

Yesterday morning I was laying in bed, and rolled over on my stomach, and noticed that my stomach wasnt feeling great. I quickly got out of bed, disorientated, and went to the bathroom. I remember sitting on the toilet feeling so incredibly sick, like nautious and dizzy and than everything went black. I woke up several min later on the floor, with a bloody and swollen lip. I had fallen off the toilet and landed on my face:( It was the scariest thing that has ever happened to me...I passed out once before in the airport while i was in a big line, and started overheating, and hadnt eaten because it was earlier in the morning(many factors. I am so scared that something will trigger this again, or it will happen while i'm driving. What can i do??

shantia's picture

hi starla, I read your

hi starla,

I read your post and i can completly understand the feelings of fear that you are having right now ecspecially because your not used to it. Well i've been dealing with this for awhile so ill try my best to give you some tips to deal with it better. First, when you began having those dizzy nauseua feelings that's your first sign that a episode is coming and that you should get somewhere and sit down, if you have a place to lay it would be better. Laying down will help bring your blood presure back to normal and circulate the blood better throughout your body so that your heart doesn't have to pump so hard, and elivate your feet slightly. Next you may experince a feeling of being extremely hot, your sweating so bad when in reality your body is cold. It's important to stay hydrated have water with you at all times are anything with electrolytes. Because your feeling overheated and sweating in abundance, it's important that people with our condition stay HYDRATED... Lay are seat for awhile and the feeling should subside and you can avoid a blackout. Now these a precautionary measures, if you should have a blackout laying down will eliminate your body from getting hurt on the impact of a fall. If you have any other questions i'll be happy to answer them to the best of my ability. Oh one more important thing try to avoid is the heat. I live in Houston Texas, so at this time I haven't been doing so well, I've been having pains in my chest from the presure of trying to breath in the heat and humidity. Good luck Starla, remember just to be aware of the signs so you can give yourself a chance to act early.

fee's picture

vasovagal syncope

My little sister has been passing out when vomiting since she was seven, she was admitted to hospital but they couldn't diagnose anything. The passing out has continue and has got worse now that she can drink alcohol, however she is discovering that this may be something she will need to cut out.
It is very scary to witness and can be very upsetting for her as she can not stop it.

Thank goodness for sites like this as it has put my mind to ease a little.

barbara m potter's picture

vasovagal response

i am 71 yrs old and i have had the vvr for the last 3 yrs happening once a year. but this last episode was accompanied by the fainting. while moving my bowels this happen to me...i slumped and the next thing i opened my eyes and was confused for a few seconds...didn't know where i was. also i have a lot of discomfort and this last episode i got lightheaded too prior to fainting. its a 'deathly ill feeling' . my primary dr thinks it could be vasovagal...i had an echogram , ultrasound of carotid arteries and they turned out very good. my dr said to drink gatorade. does anyone else have this defecation syncope...and does anyone have the terrible deathly ill feeling prior to the fainting.??? ....barb

Anonymous's picture

same problem

hi everyone I am 19 year old engineering student.I m suffering from the same problem from past 2 years.I get a feeling like 1 to 2 mins before that i will be having the attack.But these attacks also happen even when am just lying down on the bed relaxing...today itself i was just talking with one of my friend and suddenly got the attack which lasted for around 1 to 1.5min accompanied by acute weakness,shaking of hands,sweating and even feel asleep for few second...and even after recovering from the attack i was still feeling the weakness...this was by far the worst attack and most scarary one too.
I am being rude but seriously am feeling so good seeing that so many people also suffer from the same conditions as i do.
Can someone please tell me that does this vasovagal syncope can turn into something bigger and dangerous also?By any chance is it fatal or something??Because after today's attack I am seriously horrified

mary  Carlton's picture

v.syccope

Hello,

I was just diagnosed with vasovagal syncope after taking the TTT. My doctor said that I had my usual pvc, (I'm on arrhythmia meds.) and my rate dropped to 30 beats with very low pressure. He assures me that to pass-out is perfectly ok, that is I should return to normal even while experiencing heavy vomiting when I wake. Is this normal, is it ok to continue to vomit for many hours or is there a point when it becomes dangerous. What if the vomiting leads to more fainting? I understand a diet with adequate salt is important to keep pressure up. I have a problem with high blood pressure with episodes of 220/120 and is now on three pills to keep it down. Will this be a bigger problem for me with lower pressure? They also suspect kidney cancer so I have been having more stress. I have the most trouble staying calm at night when I'm in bed. It it true that this will not happen while I'm lying down? I asked my doctor if I should have a medical bracelet and he didn't think it was necessary? Do you think it is, and do you have any? I'm in the US so I don't understand the money system and the costs of your ID cards.

Thanks,
Mary

Laura J.L's picture

syncope

been having these for over a year

Laura J.L's picture

VVS EPISODES

HELLO, IM A REASONABLY HEALTHY 45 YEAR OLD FEMALE.
THE VVS EPISODES STARTED ONE YEAR AGO IN 2008.
WE HAVE BEEN TOO 17 DRS.,AND SPENT $65,000 OF THE INSURANCE COMPANYS MONEY.THE DRS. HAVE GIVEN ME CERTAIN MEDS TOOK TAKE ,NONE HELP. I BLACKOUT SEVERAL TIMES A DAY AND BLEED FROM CONTACTING FLOOR ,COFFEE TABLES AND THE LIKE.MY FAMILY DR. HAS TRIED TOO HEPL BUT TOO NO AVAIL ,WE DONT KNOW WHERE TOO GO ,NO-ONE KNOWS WHO TOO SEE ,WE FEEL LIKE THEY DONT BELIEVE ME .PLEASE, I NEED HEPL IM TIRED OF THE RINGING IN MY EARS ,THE HURTING AND BLEEDING AND DID I MENTION THAT IM UNABLE TOO DRIVE OR WORK?,MY LIFE QAULITY HAS GONE TOO HELL. MY HUSBAND AND FAMILY ARE AT WITS END WITH WORRY FOR ME PLEASE IF ANYONE CAN HEPL ME LET ME KNOW ASAP ,THANK YOU

Anonymous's picture

Fainting response

Personally, I have not suffered from the ailments you have mentioned but my sister has vasovagal syncope, as well as a heart condition. She had a tilt table test done, that ended with her on the floor and the doctor slapping her in the face screaming her name while she flat lined for 3 pages. To us the passing out seemed normal, but with the machine telling us her heart was stopping each time it changed our entire outlook. The doctor said it was so unusual that he took her file with him to conventions and meetings. They debated over a pace maker, which may be something you want to look into, but given that she was only 20 they decided against it. Instead the doctor prescribed her to drink gatorade. I know it sounds silly, but it was the only thing he could recomend. She drinks around 2-3 32oz. bottles a day and has not had an episode on almost 2 years. So, gatorade may help your situation, if you are simply looking for a doctor, I am from New, Britain CT and my sister went to New Britain General for her tests. If you are anywhere near there, you may want to check it out.

Anonymous's picture

Son started with VVS during pre-teens

My son had his first fainting/seizure episode when he was in 7th grade during a basketball. After running across the court, he suddenly went down, started turning blue and seizing. A trip to ER, followed by numerous visits to specialists showed nothing. Even the tilt table test came negative. A cardiologist finally diagnosed my son with VVS.

He's now almost 22 and has these episodes about once a year, normally triggered by extreme physical activity or an unanticipated scare. Some episodes are mild others worse. Yesterday (2/19/10) he was at the auto show doing pull ups at one of the military exhibits when he suddenly felt faint and blacked out. This time he was out for nearly 5 minutes. Upon awakening his heart was racing. At 22 he's physically fit, watches what he eats, has minimal caffeine intake.

This is so frustrating for him. He just wants and answer. As a mother my heart bleeds for him.

Anonymous's picture

Near Syncope

Thank you everyone for your comments that really helped me. I am a 40 year old woman that have been experiencing everything that Dirk experienced and every test would come back normal. My episodes happen usually with a loss of blood or a injury. I can control the episode with water, juice or milk. My heart doctor said to add extra salt to my food and stay hydrated and that should resolve the problem. He said, as I get older, he may decrease the salt in take or give me something to compensate it but for now I'm ok. I experience tremors sometimes and have experienced seizers two times. The doctor said it is not life threatening but it can be dangerous with the very low blood pressure. I also experience symptoms when I have to go to the bathroom and get rid of waist and either a lot comes out almost too much or constipation first then runny. If you have anymore information on this condition please let me know. My husband thinks because the symptoms have come back with normal results from the testing that there is not a problem and it is in my head. It makes me feel so bad because I know that there is something wrong.

Tiffany 's picture

Have you been diagnosed with

Have you been diagnosed with Irritable bowel syndrome? Could the two be linked? I have a lot of the same symptoms as you! It's so frustrating being told it's in your head when you feel so ill. Who wants to be sick all the time?!!

Serendip Visitor's picture

Yes, they're actually linked

Yes, they're actually linked in some people. People get these symptoms due to different reasons. Sitting on a toilet and attempting to push lowers your blood pressure which lowers blood flow to the brain causing you to pass out. It happens to seniors quite a bit, and can be very serious if they fall incorrectly. It's vasovagal syncope. Ask your physician to refer you to a cardiologist.

~Nursing student at a really good research hospital. (UPMC).

Anonymous's picture

my triggers are needles,

my triggers are needles, intense pain, bleeding (i cut my foot open and blood was everywhere i passed out) smoking marijuana cos it lowers my blood pressure and sometimes driving. kinda sux :/

Anonymous's picture

Vasovagal Syncope

I'm 58 yr old woman and was diagnosed with Vasovagal Syncope in February 2008. I never knew the name of this until then I had called them fainting spells before. I first fainted when I was about 13 yrs old shoveling snow. In my early 20's when taking amphetamines (diet pills) and smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol it happened to me about 4 or 5 times. Also the site of blood like when I cut my finger years ago I felt dizzy and almost fainted. New Years Eve 2007 I experienced an episode after smoking marijuana, taking a Vicodin and some shots of alcohol. I blew it off thinking because I overindulged when I shouldn't have is what caused it. Then the middle of February 2008 it happened again after smoking some marijuana and nothing else. I felt weak, sweaty and light headed and heard a ringing in my ears. I walked back to our bedroom and got near the end of the bed and heard a thump, eye opened my eyes and yes I had blacked out for a few seconds and fell and jammed my shoulder. I felt dizzy, weak and felt like I had to defecate. My husband helped me into the bathroom and I relieved myself and felt I could walk to out bed. He was helping me walk and I passed out again. I told doctor and he said whenever I feel this way to lie down on my side and it will subside. BTW, my blood sugar was really low when it happened in Feb 2008 about 40! I was taking Glyburide for type 2 Diabetes. I was doing Weight Watchers and had lost about 20 lbs but my doctor took me off that drug and my blood sugar is okay now and I don't have the low blood sugars anymore.

In Feb 2008 my doctor sent me to a cardiologist I wore a heart monitor for 24 hours, had a Nuclear Stress test which came back normal no blockages or anything wrong.

My triggers seem to be when I get hot or standing in line like at an amusement park where the wait time is like 45 minutes and it is hot outside. I do enjoy smoking marijuana so if I smoke I'm careful only a puff or two and don't drink if I smoke.

len's picture

VS

Thank You everyone for your posts. I want to share my story and hope it helps someone else. My VS started twenty years ago. I was in school, at a hospital rotation when I was observing a cervical myelogram(needle in the neck). Started to feel light-headed, hot, sweaty,and clammy. I sat down but then passed out. I thought it would be a one time thing, but I have had 4 other episodes since and thats not counting at least 6 near-misses. They are infrequent but it causes me a lot of anxiety not knowing if they will happen, and the embarrassment they cause to me if they do. It is nice to know other people have had similar experiences. The last two times it happened, people tried to tell me I had a siezure. Ive always worried I had cardiac problems, but nothing could ever be found. The last time I passed out was in the Emergency Room. My heart didnt stop completly but a sternal rub didn't bring me out of it. The Dr. did a precordial thump on my chest to bring it up to normal rythym. My triggers are Medical procedures on me, and heat. I also stay away from caffiene. What I have found is when my body isn't feeling 100% to start with, I am more apt to have a VS episode. One time I had vomited the night before with very mild food poisoning. Another time I was giving blood, and started tasting a metallic taste on my tongue. And this last time I had a virus causing fever, headache and bodyache. Thanks for sharing all the tips.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Vasovagal Syncope

Hello, My name is Misty and I have been having these so called "spells" since 1998. The spells started all at once with no warning signs,at the time I was 21 and a newlywed. I was at work and hit the ground during break. I came to alittle confused, but ok so I thought. I contuined to have the spells one after another, and still with no warnings. Needless to say I had to quit my job. From that point on my family and I had seen every doctor known to man. I would have up to six to ten spells in a day. I would been doing fine walking and talking, and the next thing I knew I was being shook and even slapped on the face to come alert. After each spell I have I am very sleepy and have a major headache. I sleep sixteen to twenty-four hours after a spell. Back to the doctors I've had EEG's, MRI's, Catscans,sleep studys, blood work (and I still have blood:). I am 32 now and have to wonderful children and the same husband which I love dearly.(Not to many men I know that would stay with a woman who hit the ground all the time.)With the loving support of my family, I am doing better. I do not have the spells as often and I am on meds that seem to regulate it. I have increased my salt intake and when I'm standing I move swagging back and forth. Heat is something I don't do well with any more, so I try to stay as cool as possible while outside. I just wish I would get some type of warning. I read the other stories and most of you would get some type of warning, but me nothing. I make lite of the sitation now, if I didn't I would go crazy. Which I've been told way to often by doctors "That I Am." Good to that there are people just as crazy as I am, but we know otherwise. I want to Thank All of You at the site for sharing your stories. God Bless You and your in my prayers.

Anonymous's picture

same situation

hi...i am a 16 year old 5'10 skinny kyphotic teenage female...about a year ago i was coming off the bus from school.(i always have a bag of sliced apples). i was snacking on the bus not noticing anything out of the ordinary except a migrane...i walked in the house and as soon as i got into the kitchen i fell immediately to the ground. I had no knowledge of what was going on except for my symptoms, which were: migrane, nausea, shaky, pale, weak, trouble breathing, cold yet sweating, and fading quickly. My father walked in about 5 minutes later and found me in a pass-out state. My father is a corman in the military so he deals with stuff like this...This feeling that i had didnt go away for days...i would eat and feel really sick and worse and i wouldnt eat and i would pass out...After about 3 days of missing school my father finally took me to see a doctor at our local clinic. He thought i had hypoglycemia or early signs of diabetes...but he also said that i have a poor apetite- no lie i eat vegetables and fruit non-stop...So he suggested that i balance fats and sugar intake...so for the next week i balanced my food intake and checked my blood glucose levels...nothing out of the ordinary...yet i was still having these "episodes". My father took me back to the doctors after i had to be picked up from school numerously due to not feeling well and discoloration...That day my sternum had really been hurting so the doctor took x-rays and found i had neumonia...Then the doctor suggested to my father outside of the room that i may have marfans syndrome...I went through numerous EEG's, EKG's, X-RAYS, CATSCANS, BRAIN MRI's, and STRESS TESTS.
Its been about a year now since i first noticed all of these symptoms...With all my test results coming back normal i began to lose hope and felt like i was hypochondriac...then i got sent to a cardiologist who looked at my posture, then said she doesnt have marfans however she does have vasovagal syncope...its benign, although she still may have days where she isnt well enough to venture out...im only 16 years old and having to go through this stinks...i feel weak all the time, nausea no matter what, i have sooo much difficulty maintaining blood sugar levels, and im always shaky and lately i never gain my full coloration...
I take it one day at a time. I eat meats-such as hamburger, spam, and sausage in the morning at lunch and dinner, i eat even more fruits and vegetables, i drink energy drinks such as gatorade, propel, vitamin water, 100% fruit juices, i make my own smoothies,and as a last resort water...if i have a caffenated beverage i feel good at first then after about an hour i drop so low that i have to go lay down ...i was on the golf team and im in band but that exhausts me...It seems to make my syncope episodes increase. When i get anxious or nervous especially during testing i have to get up and walk out and then go back in otherwise i cant focus and i get blurred vision and i feel even more ill, when i get stressed i get even sicker...like i come down with a cold, flu, and my epsiodes increase making it impossible to do anything...so i take extra precautions...
Knowing what i have is a relief because i had difficulty explaining it all the time...and now my school officials are willing to work with my health and i...
I feel terrible and sympathy for those of you living with this also...it really takes over your life...

Tina's picture

I have been told my son has

I have been told my son has vasovagal syncope. He passes out and stops breathing. He also stiffens his body, usually with one or both arms completely over his head. It has happened 3 times when getting shots, once for no apparent reason, and once by getting kicked in the face by his little brother. He is 5 and it is scaring him and us a great deal. I'm worried that it may be seizures. He has had an EEG and an EKG both with normal results. We had to insist on those tests. It is very scary. His lips and eyes turn blue and his eyes roll back. If his dad had not been standing right next to the pool he would have drown. When these episodes happen, it is ussually several minutes after the incident that triggers it. After getting kicked in the face, he cried and told dad what happened before going unconscious. We have an appointment for a second opinion next month. If anyone has any info, let me know.
Thanks

Serendip Visitor's picture

Re: Tina and son

Hi Tina,

Try searching for information on Neurocardiogenic syncope (NCS) - another name of vasovagal. There is also a good support group on yahoo - http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/NCS_F and www.medhelp.org

IMO ask your doctor for a Tilt Tray Test to see if this indeed it - usually in the automatic function section of neurology i think. I have only just had mine - only about 27 years since my first episode around 3 or 4! My heart and blood pressure both stop for several seconds. Don't panic, if it NSC then you always wake up. My husband explains it well - its like my body decides something is too painful, so like a computer just decides to reboot itself!!

I have had seizure type syncope all my life, so be assured that I lived a very happy life, and done lots of normal/exciting things(hanggliding, good career, married etc). You learn to adapt. :)

As someone who has fainted from a very young age, my advice to you would be to try and see if your son has any "predrome" symptoms (what he feels before a faint, ie. dizziness) and have him learn to lie down immediately with his feet up (this helps get his blood pressure back up and may even stop a faint)! If you cant lie down you can crouch, or even just cross your ankles, squeeze/tense your legs and put your knees together - anything to get that BP going from your legs to your head! I even automatically do this now if I've hurt myself...just in case! NSC seems to occur due to heat/cold, pain, shock etc. And always get up slowly from bed, no jumping straight up!

On blood pressure - another well documented fact is that a high salt diet is very beneficial for people with low blood pressure/vasovagal. Salty snacks, Gatorades or Powerades are handy to have when you're feeling low. So ask your doctor about this.

And on a more personal note, after a faint I feel very disorientated and upset, so just having someone call my name as I come round helps a lot...and just being there for reassurance, give you a glass of water etc is a great comfort.

Good luck...I hope you find some answers soon xo

Anonymous's picture

Wow...we're not alone - THANK YOU!!

Wow, thank you!! Have just returned home from the hospital, having fainted (heart stopped 10secs) during the tilt tray test. After hours of websearching, this is the best and most understanding site I've found so thank you to Laurel and to everyone for sharing your stories. Its great to know we are not alone!

I have fainted my whole life, am now 30. Its a horrible feeling isn't it? And no-one really understands, even loved ones who do their best. It makes me feel sooo awful, embarrassed and tired. Alot of people think fainting is like those elegant ladies in the movies, just a slight little snooze and they are right as rain. It so isn't like that. That feeling of dread and disorientation is just horrible, and scary. BUT of course there is worse things in life, so I try not to complain or worry too much :)

My triggers vary - from being hit on head/knee/elbow to going from hot to cold to stomach pain. As I've gotten older I've been able to tell when they are coming on and quickly lie down with feet up which often helps. Have also increased salt in my diet - much to jealousy of others...there has to be one perk huh? Ha! Anyone had trouble with weight maintenance due to high salt intake though..or is that a myth? I must admit tho, after a faint is the one time i eat, and guilt free, salty hot chips, yum!

Its only the last few years Ive really noticed the stomach pain - sometimes before, someimes after a faint. Can anyone expain this in more detail please ie. why do we get that? Also over the past few years I seem to be having more stomach trouble (even when not fainting) and I'm wondering if there could be a connection?? Would lvoe to hear from others...and if there are any forums out there.

My most important question, which I can't seem to find any info on, is can I have a BABY??? My husband and I would love to have a child - is it safe? Will I pass this onto my child?

Thanks everyone, and good luck!

P.S. a few of you have mentioned giving up wine and coffee - oh nooooooooooo!!!! How about i drink an extra few glasses of salty water to make up for it?!? LOL ;) Of course will be good and give them up if a baby comes our way, if its possible fingers crossed :)

emilyc's picture

Handy tips for VS

This is my own personal experience and these tips are a combination of years of working out how to deal with this on my own and advice from the cardiologists. I don't claim they will work for everyone, everyone is different so take into account what advice you've already been given too.

After years of non-diagnosis, followed by wrong diagnosis I finally had a Tilt Table Test and got the diagnosis I'd been waiting for, and telling my doctor about for four years, and that was after a 20 years history of fainting and the bumps and bruises, concussion and embarrassment that accompany it.

My VS is triggered by sudden pain (especially fingers and toes), standing up too fast, prolonged sitting or standing, heavy meals in the middle of the day (no long lunches for me), needles, getting out of a hot bath, heat, any situation which makes me really nervous, period pain, not having eaten, not having regular fluids and I have a very nasty response to Lidocaine (apparently because of the adrenalin content). While any of these situations on their own can cause me to start to feel faint or actually faint, combine any of these elements such as standing in a queue on a hot day, sitting nervously in the dentist's waiting room when he's running late, crowded public transport, sitting in a meeting and not having any water - and I'm primed to black out. Obviously knowing you're facing a situation likely to trigger a syncopal episode makes you nervous and can make it worse because it can make your heart rate go up and then your blood pressure annoyingly go down. The only common trigger I don't have is the sight of blood, bonus!

My cardiologist prefers a non-medicated approach so this is what I do.........

Eat more salt - I was never a low salt eater to begin with but now I eat more and always keep savoury snacks in my bag - personally I like those mini Pringle tubes because they have a lid. I also keep a handful of those salt sachets you get in restaurants for real emergencies.

Drink more fluids - the salt and the fluids work together - there's no point having more of one and not the other, the salt makes you retain the fluid and keep your blood pressure up a bit. If you have the fluids without the salt you'll just end up peeing more which doesn't help (and if you have the syncope brought on by peeing it would be nightmare!). Water is good, gatorade/sports drinks are good, anything is good to be honest and the colder the better. Alcohol dehydrates you, fact. If you are going to drink alcohol (and I still do) then I find sticking to higher volume drinks helps, fortunately I like beer and spritzers, if you're going to have spirits have them with plenty of mixers and make sure you have water on the go as well and feel free to indulge in the bar snacks and nuts - think of all that salt! Caffeine I'll get on to in a minute.

Check the colour of your urine - no special tricks here, just have a look. It should be the colour of straw apparently. If it's too dark you're not getting enough fluids. If it's too pale you're not getting enough salt. This isn't an exact science obviously but it works surprisingly well.

Caffeine - if you've been scouring the internet looking for info on VS you've probably seen articles saying to avoid caffeine - and a maybe a few saying you should have it. Ideally you shouldn't be having a huge dose of caffeine in one go, especially in a small amount of liquid - it will bump your heart rate up which due to the poor messaging between VS sufferers' hearts and brains will send out a message to drop the blood pressure, not raise it as would normally happen if your heart rate shoots up. So double expresso is probably off the menu. Personally I find drip feeding cold caffeinated diet cola drinks during the day helps my VS, but that's just me. If you are cutting down or cutting out caffeine check out caffeine contents of drinks online, decaf doesn't meant caffeine free.

Muscles - bodies are a bit like planes, most of the time they're on autopilot, but sometimes that doesn't work and we need to take back the controls. If your blood pressure is falling it's literally heading south towards your feet, that jelly leg feeling you get when you start to feel faint is the blood pooling in your lower limbs and it needs to be higher up so your heart can keep pumping it round. By literally rocking back on your heels you push it up a bit. Flex your calf muscles, cross your legs and squeeze your thighs, clench your buttock muscles, makes fists and squeeze them (like when the blood nurse needs to find a vein), stick out your elbows like wings and clasp your hands together and squeeze to work your arm muscles - that last one is hard to do with any subtlety in public but the others you can do without anyone knowing you're doing them at all. And keep doing them, don't just do them a few times and then stop, do them until you're away from the trigger or until you feel normal. I find this works really really well when you first feel that swirly headed feeling or whatever your initial pre-syncopal symptoms are and can literally make it all go away. Walking around, if you catch the pre-syncopal episodes early enough, can also help. And the better shape your muscles are in the better they'll work doing these exercises (says she who never goes to the gym - ahem)

Stand up slowly - that's it, nothing more. Lying to sitting, sitting to standing, just slow it down.

Heat - heat dehydrates you, any drop in hydration levels will be unhelpful to someone with VS and you may not realise it's starting to happen, if you're sweaty or thirsty you're way down the line and you're also losing salt. Stay cool, stay hydrated, if you're eating outside do it in the shade, get up slowly, if you're thirsty stop and get something to drink however inconvenient.

Doctors and dentists (and my problem with Lidocaine) - if you have to have a blood test or anything involving a needle insist you get to lie down, you're not being a wuss and no, where needles are concerned it's not mind over matter. And stay put until you feel fine and take it steady for a bit afterwards. Waiting rooms are a potential nightmare if you're nervous and sitting or standing for any period of time, so don't arrive too early, distract yourself as best you can, squeeze some muscles and remember if you do faint......um well at least you're in a medical setting. And the Lidocaine thing - I find the adrenalin in Lidocaine and similar products makes me very unwell, if someone told me I was going to die I'd believe them. If you're having similar problems ask for something without adrenalin - dentists and doctors/hopsitals stock local anesthetics without adrenalin for other conditions so it should never be a problem, in theory.

Get a medical tag and/or a info card for your wallet - and give yourself a voice again. Before I had a diagnosis, a name for the condition and an explanation for what it was anyone who heard me say I felt faint or saw me pass out was suddenly the expert and I didn't know what I was talking about. Appaently hadn't eaten enough, I was over-tired, I was being a wuss, I was being silly, I was having a panic attack, I was drunk, I'd taken drugs, I'd had an epileptic fit, I'd had a heart attack, I was possibly dead. I know people are just trying to be helpful, really I do and I know it's horrible seeing someone faint, but ambulances have more serious things to deal with and seeing as I'm the one feeling ill and I'm the one who has been dealing with this for years I actually do know best. Getting a diagnosis and understanding how it worked helped enormously, friends and family finally understood. Having a medical bracelet meant everyone else at least stopped and listened to me before passing judgment, including anyone in a medical setting planning on sticking a needle in my arm and telling me in a jolly voice 'Oh we don't do fainting here' and then having to peel me off the carpet 10 minutes later (unbelievable!). However, if you've hurt yourself, especially if you hit your head when falling or you fainted for longer than normal you really might need to go to hospital so no arguing.

Finally contact STARS (Syncope Trust and Reflex Anoxic Seizures) - you can Google them - there's a UK and US branch - they're brilliant.

Sandee's picture

Your Advice is Right For Me

I have VVS and looking back I have probably had this all my life. I am 54 now but I remember my mother telling stories about how I would pass out when I was upset in my toddler years.

Your advice was really good to see. I know that it helps many people to lay down with their feet up when they feel faint. But, that does not help me. What I need to do is tighten my muscles in my feet, legs, buttocks and arms. And the very best thing is for me to walk around briskly or actually run especially in cold temperatures. Even in the early morning. Anytime.

So, statying very hydrated, eating lots of salt, getting electrolytes help me to prevent episodes. But, if one is starting to happen then tightening my muscles, staying upright and walk briskly or running can prevent me from passing out.

Anonymous's picture

re: Syncope

Thank you so much for posting this information. My very healthy 19-year old daughter just recently started fainting out of the blue, three weeks ago. She fainted five times in a two-week period and the Cardiologist is calling it Neurocardiogenic Syncope. He has her wearing compression socks, took her completely off of caffeine, makes her take Florinef while upping her salt and fluid intake, and he took away her driving privileges. She is wearing a heart monitor which showed that during one of her episodes, her heart stopped for 9 seconds. When she passes out, her eyes are open, dialated and fixed, and her color is a pale yellow. Her arms are stiff and she makes fists. One of the episodes was during a flight and her whole body jerked, which I thought was some type of seizure. When she comes to, she feels fine, other than a massive headache.

It is very frustrating for her because she does not have enough time to get to the floor before she passes out. She feels dizzy and then the next thing she knows, people are standing over her. She was injured during two of the falls.

However, she has not passed out for over a week now, but it has only stopped since she has been wearing the compression socks and taking double doses of Florinef. Her fear is never driving again, and having to wear the "embarassing" socks, which make her hot.

Until now, we had never heard of this, so we are very new to the diagnosis and doing lots of research to become familar with treatment.

Thanks again.

Margaret's picture

vasovagal response during surgery

I have had these responses during almost every surgery I have had--but didn't have a name for what was happening until I had a surgical procedure three years ago. It seemed to upset the surgeon pretty badly and he in turn scared me to death! Just how serious is this? I have never had a vasovagal incident anywhere except in the operating room. This has gone on for over 30 years, and now I am pretty terrified of having any kind of procedure--should I be? What can be done to lessen the possibility of such an incident?

Sally's picture

Vasovagal Syncope in children

My 15year old daughter was diagnosed with VVS in August 2008, after suffering for nearly two years. She suffers episodes approximately once a fortnight and they have had a major effect on her quality of life. Each attack results in collapse which is followed by a period of disorientation that can last for up to an hour. She then sleeps for several hours. The most recent attack she suffered also resulted in loss of bladder control.
Until recently my daughter had tried to carry on with Army Cadets, which she loved but was no longer allowed to take part in any of the adventure training activities (she had passed out whilst kayaking and also whilst in a prone position shooting. We have increased her fluids and her salt intake but so far this does not appear to have made a difference to the frequency of her attacks.
As a parent it is a real worry, as has been mentioned by others - it's not the attacks themselves that are dangerous, but what you're doing at the time they occur. Incidentally, the last attack my daughter had was when she was out with friends about 15 miles from home and it took me about 20minutes to get to her (she was still in a state of disorientation, lapsing in and out of consciousness when I arrived and can't even remember going out with her friends).
Is it likely that these episodes are going to carry on occurring at the same rate and should we just be accepting that this is what she has to live with or should I be pushing for more help (since being diagnosed she has not been given a further appointment).
Any advice or information would be gratefully received. Thanks

Jennifer's picture

VVS in kids/teens

-Sally

I know what your going through, hypothetically of course, for i am the one who passes out. I am 16 yrs old and was diagnosed with vasovagal syncope at the age of 1 yrs old. I used to have my "episodes" at least once a week every week & was hospitilized every time. I would immediately after or during my spells have horrible abdominal pain & would vomit & pass out constantly. However, at the age of 7, they seemed to slow & only happened about 5-6 times a yr. THe doctors have told me for yrs after having test after test done that there is sadly no cure. I just have to live w/ it. However, apparently the longer you live w/ vasovagal syncope, you will start to "outgrow it" somewhat. Im 16 now, and after living with this horrible condition for 15 yrs, i now only have approximately 2-3 episodes a yr. I suppose i should go ahead & tell you(idk if this will happen to your daughter), from my experiences i am now traumatized by my episodes & was terrified for yrs to do much for fear of having one in front of anyone other than my immediate family. I am currently on Zoloft, which is helping my anxiety. One problem w/ having VVS is i am not legally able to drive until at least 6 months after my last episode & doctors approval. Trust me, i know what your daughters going through, or i used to know the extremity at a younger age. What can help lessen the stress and amount of episodes is by learning how to breathe and lay down, particularly on your side(recovery position). It is a very embarrassing and stressing condition, but i guess it has also somewhat made me a stronger person as a result. Best of luck to you and your daughter! I really hope they find something to help VVS someday!
-Jennifer

Kim's picture

My 15 year old daughter had

My 15 year old daughter had been suffering from vasoval syncope and seizures for about 3 years and it was really affecting her quality of life. I eventually insisted on a referal to a cardoilogist as there is a history of irregular heartbeat in the family as we were desperate for some solution. She was booked in for a tilt test and was put on a 24 hour heart monitor during which time she had another episode. apparently her heart had stopped for 15 seconds and this was by no means the worst episode. The cardiologist suggested a pacemaker which seems a drastic solution but because of the family history we took his advice. I suppose we are treating the symptoms rather than the cause but so far because the pacemaker brings the heart rate back up, it seems to be avoiding the faints. I will keep everyone informed but would be grateful to hear if anyone else has taken this route.

Anonymous's picture

Diagnosed with Vasovagal Syncope today

Today I was diagnosed with Vasovagal Syncope (went to the Neurologist with MRI scans, EAG results) after experiencing a severe episode three weeks ago. I've had two episodes previously, but not to this extent. The latest episode seems to have progressed considerably from the first two. I can relate to most of the symptoms, except that I experience severe vomiting (twice the vomiting came before the syncope, most recently the vomiting only came after, in the ER), and defication (first instance no defication, second episode severe defication before the syncope, and during, and the last one on passing out, both instances in one night). The syncope also seemed to last longer in the last episode in comparrison to the first two. It seems like a 'system shut down' and it's quite traumatic, especially if you're in a public place (the last episode was in a very crowded restuarant). If anyone has had similar symptons, and any suggestions on triggers/management, please share. It wouldn't be so bad if one only new what the triggers are, and how to manage it before the onset of an episode. At the moment I don't know what to expect, when it might happen again (the previous episodes I though it was related to food poisoning)

Denise's picture

vasovagal response

My 44 year old fiance has been having these episodes for the past 4-5 years. They usually start with an abdominal cramp, then nausea, vomiting, a strange upward heat radiating up his torso, flushing, sweating and a severe, prolonged drop in heart rate. The difference between his episodes and others is that his never progress to fainting.

In the beginning, he would be taken to the ER and immediately taken back for what appeared to be a heart attack. Each time, bloodwork would be drawn, and IV fluids and anti-emetics would be administered. Unfortunately, nothing would ease these terrible symptoms, and his heart rate would be in the 40's for several hours. The only thing that pull him out of it would be an IV narcotic that would basically "knock him out". As in fainting, once he woke up, his heart rate (and thus, his symptoms) would have reset itself.

Two years ago, after a hospitalization and battery of tests, he was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome and placed on a drug called dicyclamine. He was also given a drug called Nulev to use in the event he started having cramps. His internist also gives him 10 tablets of dilaudid to keep on hand in the event he gets a full-blown episode. One tablet puts him to sleep and then the low heart rate and symptoms resolve. It's more or less a last resort, but it works.

Has anyone else had this type of episodes, and if so, how were they dealt with medically?

shantia's picture

Vasovagal Syncope

Well I just found out what's wrong with me today actually, i've been dealing with the black outs for about 2 and half years now and i've taken test after test and no one ever had an answer for me until today i blackout at work, i felt it coming on because after dealing with it for so long i new that later on the feeling should subside. Well not to my surpise it didn't i soon after found myself in a chair not remembering how exactly i got there and being put on a stretcher on my way to the hospital. I'm only 20 yrs old so i just couldn't think that anything was really wrong with me the EMT's seemed to be more concerned than i was me BP was 50 points lower than normal they couldn't get a steady pulse, so at that point is when i became worried i was given 1000ML of sodium chloride through an IV, but i thank god for an answer because i didn't like the fact that i was blacking out and sick and i was always told that i was i fine but i'm happy to know that also that plenty of other people suffer from the same disorder, and i would be happy to talk to anyone who reads this and maybe feels an connection to my story because i think it's nice to know that your not alone, because while reading the symptoms I said i have that etc. and it was a peaceful feeling to finaly have answers, and also to know that with a little lifestyle change i can live a full and healthy life.

Jayne's picture

vasovagal response

Hi I have passed out since an early age, which was always considered to be stress related, at the dentist, early in the morning before an exam, during a class and when exercising. Once as a student nurse I passed out in the hospital corridor, my assessor thought it looked like epilepsy so I saw a neurologist, who diagnosed vasovagal syncope. This continued, and once more was referred back to neurology with the same result, being advised that it was quite common and not to worry. During this time I suffered periodically with depression and anxiety which was not totally unrelated to the blackouts and their effect on my life, but found antidepressants increased the frequency of the syncope.
An older brother also suffered from blackouts which had increased in number and whilst at the dentist had difficulty coming round with an asystole of fifteen seconds, which resulted in a pacemaker being fitted and a diagnosis post tilt test of carotid hypersensitivity.
Armed with this knowledge I requested a referral to cardiology following a blackout whilst painting. I was offered the opportunity to have a loop recorder implanted in my pectoral muscle as they had no idea of why the blackouts occurred and all other tests were normal echocardiogram, ecg, etc. The result that evening was that I felt nauseous and passed out during the same night. After going to A&E, the recording from the loop recorder was downloaded and showed a 21 second asystole. I was admitted to Acute Cardiology and a pacemaker was fitted the following morning. Whilst the reason for admission was a 21 second asystole, the cause was given as being an exagerrated vasovagal response. After reading some of the other responses I have a suspicion that whilst the vasovagal response is very common there is little understanding of it's mechanism of action and the effect on a person's overall health and wellbeing.

Anonymous's picture

I had this but ...

I recently went to the hospital and was diagnosed with vasovagal syncope. They have me on seratonin to try to correct the problem. However, in the emergency room when I fainted, my heart stopped for 10 seconds. The drs do not know why. All my tests (I had 9) came back negative and normal. (Echos and such). So, Im trying to figure ou t whats going on. WHy did my heart stop?

Anonymous's picture

I'm 16 and I was diagnosed

I'm 16 and I was diagnosed with VVS about 5 years ago. When I faint, my heart also stops for around 5-10 seconds. My last faint was at my Tilt Table Test, when I was diagnosed. The doctors were panicking as they had never seen anyone whose heart stops. I don't know why it happens, but you're not alone. It just seems to happen to some people with VVS.

Jennifer's picture

dont worry your not alone.

dont worry your not alone. im 16 and have had VVS since the age of 1. When i pass out i dont breathe for a few sec either.

david's picture

I had this but, too.....

I too was diagnosed with vasovagal syncope or cardio-inhibited syncope. This came after a tilt table test in which I passed out and my heart stopped for 9 seconds (you got me beat by a second). The cardiologist was very surprised at this result. It only took one tilt table test. Since my syncope was dominated by a severe drop in heart rate, medication was not recommended for fear of slowing my heart rate even more. The treatment was a pacemaker. I have had it now over one year. It monitors my heart rate and prevents it from dropping too quickly and from falling below 50 beats per minute. I must say, that initially I was shocked. I was 41 and physically active, playing soccer regularly. Getting a pacemaker was for someone much older. However, the last time I fainted was while driving on an interstate going 70 mph. I just barely pulled over before it all went black. It was difficult convincing my doctors and wife and kids that my condition was under control and nothing bad was going to happen. Since my pacemaker, I have not had any episodes, and I am getting a stronger sense of security in my daily activities and a new found appreciation for the little device. Good luck on your quest for understanding.

Stephen's picture

VVS and 4 episodes in a few days

I just got home from the hospital yesterday, the diagnosis was VVS. On Monday 3/8 I came home from work, had a quick dinner because I wasn't feeling well and went to bed. After 2 hours in bed and feeling like I was freezing, I felt the onset of diarrehea. I tried to get up to go the bathroom, and when I got off the bed, I was so dizzy I couldn't stand. I staggered all over the room and fell back into a chair. I finally made it to the bathroom, sat down and after completing....I passed out. I called for my wife just after I sat on the bowl, and she was there when I finally came to.

After the EMT came, I broke into a massive sweat and began to feel better and I sent them away. They told me that my EKG and vitals were perfect. After that my wife called my primary and he suggested I go to the hospital. I rejected to go and decided to get up out of bed again to clean up. I got dizzy once again and we called the EMT back. They came, the vitals were still good, and after the strapped me into a chair with the monitors on to carry me to the ambluence, I flat lined again. The EMT later told me that I went from 65 BPM and BP of 120/70 went to ZERO in a second. I was out for about 10 to 15 seconds.

I arrived at the hospital and while they were doing blood work and other testing, they came to me and asked me to lean forward for a chest x-ray. As I did, I felt myself going, I told them to get the drs and before I could repeat it, I flat lined again. I was out again for 10-15 seconds.

They brought me to CCU, monitored me for 24 hours or so, and nothing happened. On Wednesday, they performed the Tilt Table test and after raising me to about 70 degrees, I flat lined for the 4th time after 6 minutes.

The drs were on the fence about putting pacemaker in. They decided to redo the tilt table test the next day, this time pumping me with Sodium Water. They gave me 2 liters of Sodium water overnight. After 20 minutes into the test, I did not pass out and they stopped the test.

Now I am home, taking Paxil (anti Depresent)and can not drive for 2 weeks. I do not have a pace maker and I am now looking for an EP expert in this field especially for those who flat line so quickly. In every case I flat lined in a moments notice.

I live half way between NY and Boston so if anyone has a recomendation on a great specialist in this field in either city, please let me know.

Serendip Visitor's picture

VVS MD

You could try Dr. Marie Gerhard-Herman at Brigham and Women's Hospial in Boston.

britegray's picture

Just told by Doctor Yesterday I had vasovagal

I too have vasovagal. I would get horrible abdominal cramps and go to the bathroom. Then this overwhelming wave of heat and lightheadedness and sweating and feeling of not getting enough air would come over me. I would feel like I was gonna passout and fall over. The only thing I can do to try to stay clear as possible is to run cold water in the sink next to me and keep my hand under it. For some reason the cold water on my hand helps me stay more lucid and focused. (Even though you don't feel lucid or focused.) And breathe as well as you can.
It is so embarrassing because you HOPE you don't need help one day because of it and you are on the toilet. Sometimes it feels as though you are going to die because you have no control over what is happening. And you think "Please no. Not like this. Not on the toilet. I don't want to be found like this."

I don't know if it is related but I used to pass out during the plasma donation process. When they would take the blood out and seperate it I was fine, but when they would pump the blood and saline back in I would pass out. After two times the assistant said she didn't think I should try for a third. ( I would feel the cold saline shooting through my veins then I would start to go out. Maybe the cold of the saline lowered my heartrate and made me pass out. Or maybe the dilution caused hyponutremia or something.)

Tiffany 's picture

Wow...I don't know why I

Wow...I don't know why I didn't link the vasovagal syncope to feeling faint while going to the bathroom. I'm back in college and had this happen to me in the bathroom one day. I was sweating profusely and was nauseated and had to hurry up and get off the toilet and lay on the floor! I share your thoughts and fears.

Jean's picture

Vasovagal Syncope

I fainted passing out on Sunday 2/10/08 in the evening falling in the bedroom. I jammed my shoulder and had an x-ray and it was negative it just hurts like hell. I had fainted on Dec 31st too the same symptoms and I had been drinking which I usually don't drink. I felt it coming on like feeling hot, sweaty, and ringing in my ears, vision blurred. Then I heard a noise far off and our dog bark. I opened my eyes and I was on the floor and realized I was the was the noise that I heard. My husband was worried and kept wanting to call an ambulance. I told him to wait and I just wanted to get in bed. He helped me get in bed and I felt like I had to defacate. I tried walking to our bathroom in the bedroom and I got to the toilet and I passed out again, I asked him to help me to the bed again and I passed out near the footboard. I got to the bed and after about 20 or so I felt much better. I have done this before the first time I was 12 (I don’t really remember a lot when I was 12 just that I was shoveling snow in the blizzard), had these fainting spells in my 20’s, 30’s & 40’s. In my 20's, 30's and 40's everytime I had a fainting spell I had either been taking diet pills, drinking or smoking weed. Sometimes I think that the alcohol and weed may be a trigger??? I am also dieting doing it the healthy way eating right and have lost 15 lbs since mid January. Maybe I wasn't drinking enough water? In 1976 my husband and I were on the way to visit his BIL at the hospital and I slammed my left index finger in the car door. We went to the ER because I knew I needed some stitches and before we got to the hospital I looked at my finger and I started feeling dizzy and lightheaded. My husband went in the ER and got me a wheelchair because I felt like I was going to pass out. On Mon, 2/11 my husband and I went to my doctor's office first thing in the morning. My doctor said something about Vasovagal Syncope which is the most common form of fainting. I had most of the symptoms. My doctor wanted me to see a cardiologist to rule out any cardio problems and sent me to a cardiologist my husband had been to in the past on Tuesday morning and the nurse put a heart monitor (holter) on me to wear overnight Tuesday, 2/12. I went back to the cardiologist on Wednesday morning to take back the heart monitor. Then I went and get my shoulder x-ray. On the way back I called my doctor's office and said that I had turned in the heart monitor to the cardiologist and the receptionist told me that the doctor had spoken to the cardiologist for about 15-20 minutes that morning. She told me to call the cardiologist and make an appointment for an evaluation and family history and another EKG in his office. I did and then they called me back and asked if I could come that afternoon at 1 PM because they had a cancellation. After the appointment they scheduled me for a Nuclear Stress Test at the Cardiovascular Center on Wed, 2/20. This is to rule out any cardiovascular problems. I went last Wednesday for the Nuclear Stress Test which they put the electrodes on you and put an IV in my hand. Then they call me in to take pictures of my heart lying down with my arms above my head for 15 minutes. Then I go back out in the waiting room and they called me to take my BP, weight, and the treadmill, then putting a magnetic dye in the IV. I had to walk until my heart rate was up not really that long though. Then I go back out in the waiting area and they call me back then take more pictures with the magnetic dye for another 15 minutes. The doctor told me I did okay on the treadmill. Then when I had my 2nd set of pictures done I could leave and I asked when I find out the results. They told me Thursday or Friday. I went back to work on Thursday driving myself and didn’t hear anything so because of the impending weather I decided to stay home on Friday and I called cardiologist office and they were closed because of the weather. I found out this morning that the test was negative, what a relief. I have a feeling I have the Vasovagal Syncope at this point and I have my regular appointment with my doctor on Wednesday 2/27. Oh, both doctors said that if I feel the fainting coming on to lie down on my side and it will subside. I have a sister 3 years younger than me and she has also had fainting spells and virtigo. I have also had virtigo in the past, our other sister has never fainted. I found this site this afternoon and everyone posts seem so similar.

Marie's picture

I know that having bouts of

I know that having bouts of VVS are not typically serious health problems -- it is the incidents which may occur as a result of the VVS which can be serious. Passing out & falling backwards into the tub, hitting & cutting my head on the tub faucet; falling backwards down a staircase when blacking out; blacking out while walking through the drugstore. The frequency of the blackouts increased significantly to the point that the sound of swarming bees and the blackin-outs occurred by simply turning my eyes to the right (NOT turning my head).

Since then 2 things have helped. 1) I start off my day with 32 oz. of water and 2) I suffer from depression and this past year my SSI was doubled. This has taken the edge off the worst of the depression and seems to have virtually eliminated the ongoing black-outs & terrible noise of the VV episodes.

sue's picture

syccope

Hi I am amazed of how many people have the version syncope, vasovagel as I have been diagnosed with this and have gone to every doctor imaginable and tests galore. My episodes happen only when I eat. My lips turn blue, feels like my food is regurgitating and then I have 20 sec. to lie down and within 90 sec. I am as nothing happened. Along the way I have a hiatal hernia and gerd and stomach issues. Does any body else have these similar problems?

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