Vasovagal syncope is the most common cause of syncope. Syncope occurs when the body overreacts, such as to the sight of blood or emotional distress.
Vasovagal syncope is the most common cause of syncope. Syncope occurs when the body overreacts, such as to the sight of blood or emotional distress. The result of triggering vasovagal syncope is a brief loss of consciousness caused by a sudden drop in heart rate and blood pressure, reducing blood flow to the brain.
Syncope due to the vagus nerve is usually harmless and does not require treatment. However, it is possible to hurt yourself by fainting. Additionally, your doctor may recommend testing to rule out more serious causes of vasovagal syncopes, such as a heart or brain disorder.
Before fainting due to vagus nerve, you may experience:
Dark vision - vision is more limited when looking at the front.
Because syncope can be a sign of a more serious condition, such as a heart or brain disorder, it's a good idea to consult a doctor after syncope, especially if there hasn't been one before.
Vagus syncope occurs when the part of the nervous system that regulates heart rate and blood pressure malfunctions in response to a trigger, such as when blood is visible. The heart rate slows, and the blood vessels in the legs widen. This allows blood to pool in the legs, which lowers blood pressure. A drop in blood pressure and a rapidly slowed heart rate decrease blood flow to the brain.
Although vagus syncope can occur at any age, it is recognized as an important cause of syncope in the elderly.
Causes of vagus nerve syncope include:
Stand for long periods of time.
Exposure to heat.
Scenes of blood.
When taking blood.
Fear of bodily injury.
Stress, such as passing smoke.
Tests and diagnostics
The diagnosis of vagus syncope usually includes ruling out other causes of syncope - especially problems related to the heart. These tests may include:
ECG. This test records the electrical current signals produced by the heart. Abnormal heart rhythms and other cardiovascular problems that can cause fainting can be detected. In some cases, it may be necessary to wear a portable ECG machine for a day or for a month.
Echocardiography. This test uses ultrasound images to view the heart and look for problems, such as valve problems, that can cause fainting.
Stress test. This studies heart rate during exercise. It is usually done while walking or jogging on a treadmill.
Blood tests. Your doctor can look for problems, such as anemia, that may be causing or contributing to fainting spells.
Tilt table test: If it doesn't appear that a heart problem is causing the syncope, your doctor may recommend undergoing a tilt table test.
Lie flat on the table.
The table changes position, tilts up at different angles.
A technician monitors heart rate and blood pressure to see how posture affects them.
Treatments and drugs
In most cases of vagus syncope, treatment is not necessary. Your doctor can help determine the cause of your syncope and discuss how they can be avoided. However, if you experience vagus syncope frequently enough to affect your quality of life, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following attempts.
Medications that can help prevent vagus syncope include:
Beta-blockers to treat blood pressure. As metoprolol (Lopressor) to treat high blood pressure. The drugs also used most often to prevent vagus syncope because it blocks certain signals that can lead to syncope.
Antidepressants. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, such as paroxetine (Paxil), fluoxetine (Prozac), and sertraline (Zoloft), have also been successful in preventing vagus syncope.
Constrictors. Medications for low blood pressure or asthma are sometimes helpful in preventing vasovagal syncope.
Your doctor can recommend specific techniques to reduce blood pooling in your legs. This involves walking, wearing elastic stockings or supporting the calf muscles when standing, and increasing salt in your diet if you don't have high blood pressure. Avoid prolonged standing - especially in hot, crowded places - and drink plenty of fluids.
Adding a pacemaker, which helps regulate the heart's rhythm, may help some people with vagal syncope.
If you feel alert, lie down and raise your legs. This allows gravity to keep blood flowing to the brain. If you can't lie down, sit down and bring your head between your knees until you feel better.