Vaso-Vagal Discussion

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Anxiety in situations after Vaso-incident

From: Marie
Date: 1/4/00
Time: 5:36:44 PM
Remote Name:


I have read a few articles now, and it is good to feel I am not alone in my "unconcious" being. I too, have been disappointed in my doctors with this problem. I am 26 and have been fainting since I was about 9. The first time was in class, and everyone (myself included) considered it being squeamish. Then I didn't faint again, until I was about 12. I fainted 3 times in class (twice in the same one) in one year. Anyway, this is familiar ground to all of us. I usually was fine pretty soon after the episode finished, and after I felt good enough to get up, I was ok. I dismissed it to discussions which made me squeamish, my mind would wander imagining it happening to me, and I would faint (i.e. - needles, getting blood taken, etc). I don't know why, but it would.

However, recently I had an attack which has left me feeling very unsettled. I live in the NY City area and take the subway to work. About 2 weeks ago, I was on a crowded subway car (and standing) and felt funny. I tried reading my book to keep my mind from wandering from thoughts of fainting to the subject in my fiction book. Didn't work. It probably didn't help at all. I started feeling really fuzzy and knelt in the middle of the subway car (the train was between stops). A woman gave me her seat, but the quick motion I made moving from the kneeling to the sitting position made things worse. My ears were ringing, my sight was getting blotchy (like the flash from a camera in your eye after a picture). I got off the subway at the next stop (of course every one was staring, and in the subway, the train is delayed for "sick passengers" which of course doens't make you any less anxious about the attack as it is onsetting - knowing everyone in a crowded NY train will be pissed at you). Well, I sat down, collected myself, and SLOWLY made it to the street, thinking the fresh air will do me good. It did. The only decent thing about what happened was that about 5 people asked me if I needed help, and 1 offered to stay with me until I felt better. Anyway, I got to the street, outside, and sat a few minutes and felt better, and made my way to my office. I was ok for most of my working day. The problem, however, has not gone away.

Each day now, both going to and coming from work, I have anxiety and panic attacks about getting sick again on the train. I am lucky in that I don't have bowel/vomit problems. But going to work everyday is a challenge. I just got to see a doctor today, and i got the "eat salt and drink fluids" diagnosis. Which I will do.

I guess I am hoping someone else will have advice on what to do every day when my heart races every time I have to get on the subway. It also seems to happen after walking a while, and I get tired (I don't have the energy level i did before 2 weeks ago either). My head feels strange, like it is expecting an attack, but it doesn't happen. I don't know how to describe it. Crowded subways don't help either. I try to take a later train that maybe isn't so crowded or get off at a stop and calm myself down when I feel like I am going to have a panic attack and THAT will lower my blood pressure and make me faint... And I have tried thinking of another subject. But I haven't found one that works.

Well, I hope I haven't bored anyone. Please, comments are welcome.

Vaso vagal



My episode took place at three on the morning while urinating. Experienced some stomach distress during the day but went out for dinner, ate very little, had a couple of drinks and retired. Passed out and hit my head on the door on the way down.That was four days ago and I still have the stomach flu and am very weak. I'm wondering if I am vulnerable again in the near future at least while I'mstill fighting the flu. I am 70 yrs old and hav an illeostomy.


From: Lisa


Hi! I started fainting when I was just two years old. I can remember going through test after test after test throughout my childhood to figure this out. At about age 10 they went away. At about age 20 I started passing out again. At this time, I went through a tilt-table test and was diagnosed with vaso-depressor synchope.

I went on atenolol but couldn't stand how drowsy it made me even though I was on a very low dose and took it at night! I went off it of my own choice and actually haven't had an episode since.

Is there such a thing as growing out of it? I'm faint/seizure free for about 6 years now. I am also a skydiver and it is a source of concern obviously... I think the adrenaline must keep my heart rate going nice and strong! =)

I was originally told when diagnosed that I was "old" for this and it was usually found in teenagers. Apparently not, after reading this forum! I just hope it never comes back!!!!

I used to have "seizures" in that I would get stiff as a board and could not be bent. I fainted visiting a friend in a hospital once and was declared to have had a "grand mal" seizure.

Here's to hoping they never come back!

- Lisa

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