Vasovagal Syncope

What is Vasovagal Syncope?

It is a layman’s termed as fainting which can be experienced by anyone. It occurs due to various factors which may be discussed as we go along. When triggering factors are present, the patient will experience this kind of disease condition. It also activates the autonomic system before or after each attack. It may be otherwise known as neurocardiogenic kind of syncope or neutrally mediated hypotension or vasodepressor syncope. It can happen to anybody at anytime.


Aside from that, the most common etiological factor is a history of brief and acute episodes of losing consciousness that is sometimes happens momentarily. There are really no other  abnormalities associated to person’s both neurologic and cardiac aspects. Hence, it is totally harmless and does not really require treatment at all.

It deals with the vagus nerve, the nerve which crosses in the person’s larynx and throat and is responsible for heart rate as well as it supply the nerves of parasympathetic system such as esophagus, stomach or lungs and other organs in the abdominal region. When discussing about parasympathetic, it means that the system which controls the involuntary system of the person such as the lungs and heart and many other organs.

Vasovagal Syncope Symptoms

When a person undergoes vasovagal syncope, he or she will experience the following symptoms:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Tunnel vision
  • Cold sweat
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Physical weakness
  • Clammy sweat
  • Nausea
  • Diaphoresis or excessive sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Palpitations
  • Paresthesia
  • Chest pain
  • Dyspnea
  • Feeling of warmth or hot
  • Pallor

Many of those who experienced Vasovagal syncope commonly reports that prior on experiencing attacks, they usually felt an aura such as being nervous without reason or perhaps having visual disturbances before the Vasovagal syncope.

Vasovagal Syncope Causes

There are a lots of factors that may trigger attacks of vasovagal syncope such as:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Blood flow towards the brain is reduced
  • Emotional stress
  • Undergone a shocking incident or accident
  • Painful experience
  • Anemia
  • Fever
  • Fasting episodes
  • Prolonged bed rest
  • Having organic heart disease
  • Heat exposure
  • Standing for long hours
  • Having their blood drawn out
  • At the sight of human blood or any blood for that matter
  • Straining like during bowel movement
  • The fear or anxiety upon injury of the body

These are just some of the common factors reportedly associated with vasovagal syncope.

Vasovagal Syncope Pathophysiology

The Vasovagal syncope occurs because of two factors: triggering factors and the activation of autonomic.

With regards to the triggering factor, there are actually two kinds: the central and the peripheral. The central triggers are those that deal with instrumentation, pain and emotion. Meanwhile, the peripheral triggers deals with being in a hot environment, dehydration, illness, exercise or perhaps excessive consumption of alcohol.


On the other hand, the activation of autonomic system will bring about the symptoms such as pallor, nausea and sweating, which are the most common symptoms.

Pathophysiologically speaking, what happens inside the person’s body during vasovagal syncope is that there is decrease venous return brought about by decrease blood flow which will in return result to decrease in the left ventricular filling and will then result to an increase in the person’s sympathetic tone as seen by the symptoms experienced such as palpitation and the like. When this happens, there will be vigorous ventricular contraction especially in the underfilled chamber which will trigger the increase in mechanoreceptor discharge which will eventually lead to the trigger of the central nervous system which results to vasodilation and bradycardia and hence the condition called as vasovagal syncope.

How to Treat Vasovagal Syncope?

Treating vasovagal syncope, in most cases, is not necessary. The condition will be gone in minutes even without treatment. If for instance you will encounter vasovagal syncope to the point that it interferes with your day to day activities, then you need to consult your physician so that you will be given diagnostic examination to know the condition that triggers you to have such condition. The physician may also recommend you the following treatment for such condition, such as:

Pharmacological treatment

The medications that are often prescribed to persons who encounter vasovagal syncope are as follows:

  • Antidepressants

Antidepressants under the classification of SSRI or otherwise termed as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are good medications which will prevent the occurrence of Vasovagal syncope.

  • Blood pressure medications

Drugs like metoprolol which treats persons with high blood pressure. This is given to patient who experiences vasovagal syncope because they act to block the signal which may lead to the said condition.

  • Constriction for blood vessel

Medications for the treatment of asthma and low blood pressure helps in the prevention of vasovagal syncope.

Therapeutic Management Treatment

Therapeutic regimen such as the wearing of elastic stockings, increasing salt in diet which is done for patients who are not contraindicated or who have no heart problems, tensing your muscles of the leg especially during standing, foot exercises, and leg elevation during the syncope episodes are recommended. Aside from that, it is advisable that you avoid hot and crowded places and prolonged standing. You also need to combat dehydration by drinking lots of fluids particularly water.

Surgical treatment

Last and the certainly the least, some physician would suggest, especially to persons who have heart problems, that the patient undergoes surgery for the insertion of the pacemaker or electrical pacemaker for that matter which will help in the regulation of the blood, heartbeat and persons who encounter Vasovagal syncope.

The treatment for vasovagal syncope varies from one person to another. Prior to undergoing the treatment recommended, the patient should undergo series of diagnostic tests to rule out any possible health problems associated with this condition.


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