Vasovagal Syncope

Simple fainting (Benign Vasovagal Syncope)

Simple fainting, also known as Benign Vasovagal Syncope, is the commonest cause of syncope in all age groups.

It occurs most frequently in young adults. It rarely presents for the first time in older people.

Attacks are precipitated by recognised triggers such as fear, severe pain, sight of blood etc.. Prior to losing consciousness the individual often experiences warning symptoms such as lightheadedness, nausea, ringing in the ears, receding and echoing sounds, darkening of vision,  sweatiness – hot or cold, and generalised weakeness.  These symptoms last for several seconds before consciousness is lost (if it is lost). Onlookers will notice extreme pallor, and often sweatiness. The pulse will be very weak and slow.

When sufferers pass out they fall down (unless this is impeded) and, when in this position, effective blood flow to the brain is immediately restored, allowing the person to regain consciousness.

Management is by avoidance of triggers. Should warning symptoms occur, prompt squatting may prevent progression to loss of consciousness.

Injury is unusual following Vasovagal Syncope.