Vasovagal syncope (say "vay-zoh-VAY-gul SING-kuh-pee") is sudden dizziness or fainting that can be set off by things such as pain, stress, fear, or trauma. You may sweat or feel light-headed, sick to your stomach, or tingly.
The problem causes the heart rate to slow and the blood vessels to widen, or dilate, for a short time. When this happens, blood pools in the lower body, and less blood goes to the brain.
You can usually get relief by lying down with your legs raised (elevated). This helps more blood to flow to your brain and may help relieve symptoms like feeling dizzy. Some doctors may recommend a technique that involves tensing your fists and arms.
This type of fainting is often easy to predict. For example, it happens to some people when they see blood or have to get a shot. They may feel symptoms before they faint.
An episode of vasovagal syncope usually responds well to self-care. Other treatment often isn't needed. But if the fainting keeps happening, your doctor may suggest further treatments.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: March 20, 2017
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
& Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
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