Vaso-Vagal Discussion

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vasovagal reaction?

From: Patti


I'm not sure exactly what my daughter's problem is. I just know it is recurring. The first time it happened she was 16 years old. She had to have blood drawn and was nervous about it. She panicked and appeared to have a convulsion in the doctors office. The nurse called it a convulsion but by the time the doctor ran in she was already sitting up and pretty much back to normal. She was tired. The doctor said that many people faint when they have blood drawn and that it would probably happen again. He advised that she always lie down when having blood drawn.

I was shocked. My daughter is not the type of person that is fragile. She was tough as nails. I was positive that something else was going on. After a battery of tests, I was told that she was perfect.

She is now a 27 year old teacher. She works out regularly, has a body to die for and is the life of the party. She is an overachiever and can wear out an army. She's always on the go and accomplishes more than the average person.

But my daughter does continue to faint occasionally. Now and then when she has blood drawn, but also in certain conditions. If she were to bang her elbow really hard for example, there's a good chance that she may faint. She recently caught a virus and was becoming dehydrated. Our physician said to bring her to the ER for an iv drip. Once we got there, they wanted to do blood work to rule out a bacterial infection. I was nervous because she was already in such a weakened condition and she does faint sometimes. She became upset and asked that they not do the blood work. I asked the nurse to stay while the technician took the blood. What happened this time was frightening. She was laying down and remained conscious but was complaining that her hands were tingling and becoming stiff. I watched in horror as her hands became clenched and she was unable to separate her fingers or to lift her arms. She said her feet were also tightening.

The nurse and the tech were not the least bit alarmed. I was told this was a panic attack. This clenching of her hands happened only one other time in a stressful situation which I was not present for. I was told that it had to do with dehydration. The nurse calmed her down and basically did some hypnosis on her and she finally relaxed. She said my daughter stresses out and lowers her blood pressure. This is not uncommon.

All I know is I don't buy this. This is so out of character for her. She's not the type of person who fears anything. She has bungy jumped, gone on the scariest of rides, danced on stage, had the lead in school plays and community theatre. She is fearless.

I surfed the web and found your website. Maybe you can say something to convince me that I have nothing to worry about.

Thanks for listening.

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