What Is Vasovagal Syncope?

By jolene
Reviewed: Dr. Gromatzky
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Vasovagal syncope is the most common type of syncope among young adults and it can also occur at any age. It most commonly occurs when the affected individual is in a standing position and precipitated by pain, emotional stress, or fear. During this time, autonomic symptoms are predominant. It is thought to occur due to a number of mechanisms that ultimately result in decreased peripheral vascular resistance. This means that it causes a drop in blood pressure leading to syncope.

Vasovagal syncope is also known as reflex syncope or neurocardiogenic syncope. It is usually harmless. The body is full of nerves that control the blood vessels and the heart - the neurocardiogenic system. This system plays an important role in the regulation of blood pressure by dilating or constriction of the blood vessels. Normally, the nerves coordinate to ensure that there is adequate blood supply to the brain. When there is inadequate blood supply to the brain, the affected individual can lose consciousness.

1. Causes of Vasovagal Syncope

As previously explained, the mechanism causing vasovagal syncope to occur would be the overstimulation of the vagus nerve resulting in dilation of the blood vessels and the heart to slow down. This reduces the heart’s ability to pump blood toward the brain against gravity. Since there is inadequate blood supply to the brain, the brain shuts down temporarily leading to loss of consciousness or syncope. To reduce the risk of vasovagal syncope, it is best to avoid triggers such as excess heat, intense pain, standing for long durations, intense emotion, skipping meals, dehydration, sight of blood, prolonged exercise, or seeing a needle. Other potential triggers include coughing, having a bowel movement, and urination.

Vasovagal Syncope

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