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Everything You Need to Know about Vasovagal Syncope

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Everything You Need to Know about Vasovagal Syncope

Cardiology | by Dr. Rakesh Sarkar | Published on 01/09/2023


Vasovagal syncope is a common condition experienced by every human at some point in their lives. However, there are people who might experience this condition throughout their lives. Hence, it is important to be mindful of the vasovagal syncope symptoms to avert the risk of fainting. 

If you suspect that you might have this condition, make sure to consult your healthcare provider. You can book your appointment with the best cardiology doctors in Kolkata at the BM Birla Heart Research Center.

In this write-up, we will cover a detailed discussion on the vasovagal syncope condition involving its symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment options. However, kindly note that it is a research-based blog and only is for informative purposes. We do not interfere with the doctor’s consultation in any way. 

What is Vasovagal Syncope?

Vasovagal syncope is a condition that occurs when your heart rate and blood pressure abruptly drop, leading to problems like fainting or passing out. It is among the most common syncope reflexes. This occurs for some reason that is not in your control. The condition is also referred to as neurocardiogenic syncope as it develops due to the factors that involve the heart, brain, and often both. 

People who have autonomic nervous conditions like Parkinson’s disease are not at a high risk of developing vasovagal syncope. It is because the condition often interferes with the regular nervous system functioning. 

Doctors recommend that people who experience frequent vasovagal syncope episodes must not delay reaching out to professional help. 

What are Vasovagal Syncope Symptoms?

One of the primary symptoms of vasovagal syncope is fainting. Here are other vasovagal syncope symptoms: 

  • Yellow skin 
  • Nausea 
  • Blurred vision 
  • Nausea 
  • Tunnel vision or narrow vision
  • Cold sweat 

There are other symptoms you might experience during vasovagal syncope episodes such as:

  • Unusual and jerky movements 
  • Slow and weak pulse 
  • Pupils dilation

After a vasovagal episode, recovery might take less than a minute. If you get up within a few seconds, you put yourself at the risk of fainting again after 20-30 minutes. 

What are Vasovagal Syncope Causes?

Vasovagal syncope condition happens when the nervous system part involves the regulation of blood pressure and heart rate improper functioning due to triggers like blood sight. The heart rate begins to drop, and your leg's blood vessels start to dilate. It permits the blood to accumulate in the legs lowering your blood pressure. When combined, low heart rate and low blood pressure, blood flow begins to reduce quickly and as a result, you faint. It is important to know about the triggers as they are the contributing factors of vasovagal syncope. Here are some of these triggers:

  • Sight of blood 
  • Exposure to the heat 
  • Standing for a long time 
  • Blood test- having blood drawn 
  • Fear of injuries 
  • Strains like bowel movement 

How is Vasovagal Syncope Diagnosed?

To confirm vasovagal syncope diagnosis, the doctor will start with a physical assessment. During the evaluation, your doctor will listen to your heart rate and check your blood pressure. They might involve the arteries massage in the neck so that you feel faint. If the doctor suspects vasovagal syncope, they will order certain tests to rule out other probable fainting causes. Here are these tests:

  • Electrocardiogram.: This test is involved as it benefits in recording the heart’s electrical activity and can determine problems linked to the heart such as abnormal heart rhythm
  • Echocardiogram: In this test, ultrasound imaging is involved for viewing the conditions of the heart such as valve issues causing you to faint. 
  • Exercise stress test: This test is recommended to understand heart rhythms while you are indulging in physical activity. It often is performed by involving a treadmill or walking or jogging. 
  • Blood tests: With this test, your doctor will identify conditions like anemia as it is among the primary factors of fainting. 
  • Tilt table test: In this test, the doctor will be monitoring your heart rhythms and blood pressure by asking you to lie down on your back at the table. You will be tilted at several angles and if the posture is affected and other changes are noticed, vasovagal syncope is confirmed.

What are the options for Vasovagal treatment?

In most vasovagal syncope cases, treatment is not recommended. The doctor might assist you with determining the triggers linked to fainting and illustrating the ways in which you can avert them. However, if the condition is interfering with your quality of life, then the cardiologist may recommend the following options for vasovagal treatment:

  • Medications: Medications like fludrocortisone are recommended as they help in treating low blood pressure and assist in averting the condition. Your doctor might also give you inhibitors like selective serotonin reuptake. 
  • Therapies: The doctor recommends ways to reduce the blood accumulation in the legs such as foot activities, compression stockings, and leg muscle tension while standing. It is recommended to increase the consumption of salt in the diet if you normally don’t have high blood pressure. 
  • Another recommendation by a doctor is to prevent standing for a long period of time, primarily in hot, and crowded locations. It is also suggested that you drink a lot of liquids. 
  • Surgery: Surgery is recommended in very rare cases. It involves the insertion of a pacemaker for heartbeat regulation as it might assist in managing the symptoms if other treatment options don’t work. 


Vasovagal syncope is a condition that can interfere with your quality of life and might lead to problems like anxiety, fear, etc. if not managed on time. It is important that you are mindful of the symptoms so that you are always alert if anything triggers them. You must ensure working with your doctor as they can assure you with required tips and resources. Their aim is to assist you in becoming familiar with the condition so that you can enjoy your life and not always worry about it.



Can you die from vasovagal syncope?

Vasovagal syncope is not a life-threatening condition and doesn’t pose any risks like death. 

How to overcome vasovagal syncope?

You can avoid this condition by exercising regularly, taking prescribed medications on time, drinking a lot of liquids, and avoiding triggers. 

Can stress cause vasovagal syncope?

Yes, stress can lead to vasovagal syncope because of situations like the sight of blood.