Vaso-Vagal Discussion

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vaso-vagal resulting in asystole?

From: Jim Etheridge


I was just released from the hospital yesterday. Last Mon. I went to the top of Pikes Peak (14,110') and felt a crushing, squeezing chest pain never before experienced (I'm a 51 year old male with no cardiac hx.). The episode lasted about 4 hours and subsided. Then Thurs. the same pain occurred as i was sweeping the church parking lot. My wife noticed my ashen color and recommended I go home and lay down; this I did but the pain did not subside. The next morning I went to my Family Dr. who said he felt I was having a heart attack. The EKG showed 1-2mm. elevation of the ST segment in the anterior leads, the T waves were inverted in Lead II and three shots of sublingual NTG and O2 seemed to help the pain. No syncopal episodes. I was admitted to the local hospital and a cardiac catheterization performed. All coronary ateries were perfectly clear! A repeat EKG showed "non-specific changes." As I was about to be released, the nurse wanted to change the dressing over the femoral artery wound site (which was dry). At this point, I was sitting on the side of the bed and felt dizzy and nauseous; my wife said "He's not doing good" and I passed out. They had telemtery still hooked up to me showing a change from normal sinus rhythm to a slowing junctional beat, then ASYSTOLE for 4-5 seconds! I was apneic, pulseless, showing asystole on the monitor and they called a "Code Blue." 30 people ran into the room and 1/2 amp of Atropine was administered (you can't shock asystole). A normal sinus rhythm ensued and I awoke 10 minutes later. They said it was "vaso-vagal;" since when does vaso-vagal cause ASYSTOLE!? Has that ever been documented before? The following night in the hospital at 3 am. while sound asleep, my rhythm slowed to a sinus bradycardia they recorded at a rate of 30!!! Vaso-vagal while sleeping? And lying down? What do you think -- the Drs. here are guessing. My background is Pre-Med and I was a Fire Dept. Paramedic for years -- never seen anything like this though I saw and induced many a vaso-vagal manuever in the field. HELP! Jim.

This web site is not a substitute for a thorough medical evaluation and diagnosis of your vaso-vagal type symptoms.  Medical treatment and diagnosis is the only acceptable initial response to these serious symptoms since they might present from any number of life threatening and treatable illnesses. It is for you and your physician to rule out more serious illnesses; Please don't use this online forum as an alternative to getting responsible medical attention and being under the care of a physician for the duration of any unknown, suspected or dangerous vaso-vagal syndrome symptoms.
Last changed: June 22, 2007