Vaso-Vagal Discussion

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Is this VV - or something else?

From: Chris


A year and a half ago, my husband had surgery. At that time, they discovered his heart beat was too slow. Shortly thereafter, he caught the flu. It was then that he had his first passing out experience, usually brought on by nausea and vomiting. His cardiologist said that it was because of his slower heartbeat, and that by the time he was 50-55, he would need a pacemaker. As these episodes became more prevalent, he would know when it was necessary. Since that time, he has been totally fine. He hasn't had any episodes, or any sensations of lightheadedness or anything.

On Christmas Eve morning I was getting ready for work and my husband got up to go to the bathroom. He sat down, and was sitting there for a moment or two and said, "I think I'm going to pass out." Next thing I knew, he went totally limp. He started sweating profusely, and was cold to the touch. A couple of times, he went totally rigid, and his eyes opened, but they were glassy, and he just "wasn't there." Then he would go limp again. I propped him up against the sink so I could call 9-1-1. I couldn't get him to come to. All I could think about was there was no way I could get him on the floor without hurting him. The paramedics got there, and his heart rate was in the high 30s and his blood pressure was 90/65. By this time he had been "out" for at least 10 minutes. They moved him onto the floor and elevated his legs. When he started to come to, he was very nauseated and he vomited. He was taken to the hospital, where they started him on an IV. His potassium level was low, so they added that to his IV as well. He was still very nauseated, so they kept giving him medication to help with that. It wasn't until they injected him with atropine to bring his heart rate up, that he started feeling better. During that night, his heart rate kept dipping down, under 40 bpm, but he felt fine. The nurse kept making trips into the room to make sure he was okay - which he was. He was released on the afternoon of Christmas Day. He has been been doing fine since then. He is supposed to go in next week for a tilt table test and an echocardiogram. The doctor says he suspects it is an overactive VV Reflex, but I'm not convinced. There were no triggers or anything - just happened out of the blue. I am just so thankful I was still at home when it happened. I am scared to leave him alone.

I appreciate any thoughts anyone may have on this.

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