Vaso-Vagal Discussion

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My Experience(s)

From: Greg


Let me start with my background. I am a 29 year old, rather healthy husband/father. A year and a half ago, I underwent a bi-lateral arthroscopic knee procedure. Six days after that I was hospitalized for a PE (Pulmonary Embollism) that traveled through my heart and got lodged in my left lung. Three weeks after that I went back into the hospital for a partial knee replacement on my right knee. For precautionary reasons, my surgeons placed a greenfield filter in my chest to catch possible clots. That was removed 2 weeks after the surgery. Since then, is my connection to the VV forum. My first epsiode occurred in the shower. I was finished my shower when I noticed a severe dizziness begin to take over me. I instantly had to sit down or fall down. From there, my fingers, hands, arms, and legs all began to posture (turn into one another). The was balled up on the shower floor paralyzed. I could not move or talk. When my wife found me I was spitting up blood. EMS was called and I spent 2 days in the hospital with no explanation found. They said the dizziness was vertigo, and I had a minor case of pneumonia. End of episode 1. Through tests I went: eeg, catscans, mri's, ENT tests, and cardiologists. EVERYTHING IS CLEAN. The second episode occurred while I was walking up a flight of steps. I was halfway up the steps when the dizziness struck. I made it to my foyer where I laid down, began to cough, tightness in my chest, and sweating perfusely. The wife found me again. We drove to the ER ourselves and after tests decided I had a syncope episode (fainting) No one can tell me why. The final episode occurred when I was coughing to bring up a sputum sample for my doctor. The cough set it off, I got light-headed, couldn't breathe, and had to lay on the floor. All three of my episodes happened within the first half hour of me waking up. It has never happened afternoon or evening, but my anxiety and fear, now make me catastrocize all my body symptoms. I have become a mental case. As for the present, it has been about 4 months since the last episode, although I think the effects are now premenant. My doctor discovered I have asthma (ADVAIR DAILY), GERD (NEXIUM DAILY), and anxiety. Go figure. The theory is that my GERD (reflux) irritates my esophagus and sets off an asthma attack, which can led to the VV. My problem is no one has a specific answer or diagnosis. I continue to take the meds as well as lorazepam for anxiety. Since all this I have been a wreck. Mentally I obsess about the signs/symptoms/etc. I never know when the next episode is going to occur, or how severe it will be. Up until a year and half ago, I was on one pill, synthroid, for hypothyroidism, and perfectly healthy and happy. Now I am a walking pharmacy, and I can't understand where this all came from, and most importantly, how to get it to go away. That's my story. Scary as it is. It is nice to know others are experiencing similar episodes. Still, if you can shed some light, I would appreciate it. I am beginning to lose confidence in the medical world. :-(

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