What causes vasovagal syncope?

Updated: Jan 13, 2017
  • Author: Rumm Morag, MD, FACEP; Chief Editor: Erik D Schraga, MD  more...
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Vasovagal syncope is the most common type in young adults [7] but can occur at any age. It usually occurs in a standing position and is precipitated by fear, emotional stress, or pain (eg, after a needlestick). Autonomic symptoms are predominant. Classically, nausea, diaphoresis, fading or "graying out" of vision, epigastric discomfort, and light-headedness precede syncope by a few minutes. The syncope is thought to occur secondary to efferent vasodepressor reflexes by a number of mechanisms, resulting in decreased peripheral vascular resistance. It is not life-threatening and occurs sporadically.

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