Vaso-Vagal Discussion

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Almost 20 years

From: darkinhere
Date: 6/9/00
Time: 1:21:50 PM
Remote Name:


Hey, how reassuring to know that the horrifying episodes which have plagued me for almost twenty years (I am 36 going on 37) are 1) not unique to me and 2) have a name. The last time I passed out, my family doctor called it a "complex asynchopal event" and said there was nothing to do about it, but relax. Sure, you read my story and then tell me if you could relax...

I have quickly reviewed most of your notes, but wonder if anyone out there, like me, has experienced symptoms in between attacks like chronic dizziness-constant, but sometimes worse than others with no apparent triggers, ringing in the ears, heart racing for hours (i.e. 140+ for hours on end), visual disturbances (spots, zig-zag lights) to name a few.

By way of history, the first episode occurred while away at a cottage with friends, after smoking something I shouldn't have been smoking (haven't touched it since and neurologist said it was coincidental to the attack, but did not precipitate the attack). It was hot and humid outside and as I played a pinball machine, I suddenly had this horrible headrush like electricity run up the back of my head which I had never felt before. In seconds, I had painful cramps in my intestines (also unusual) which sent me to the bathroom, but nothing happened. I went back out into the main room of the building and the head rushes started coming up giving me the feeling I'd be lifted right off the ground and I had a feeling like bumblebees buzzing through my head. Then I looked down the hallway and suddenly I went "white blind" from the centre of my vision out until I couldn't see anything. I began to panic, ran in to my friend who was having a shower for help and she started yelling at me to stop freaking out, that nothing was wrong, etc, etc. But I was blind and these waves of dizziness were overcoming me and the buzzing in my head was overwhelming. She started walking me up and down the hall, but I kept collapsing at the knees for a minute or so until my ears went numb and I went completely out. I found out afterward that I went stiff and my eyes rolled back into my head, but did not convulse The next thing I knew, her boyfriend was kneeling over me with me on my side, trying to get some bubblegum out of my mouth and I was saying take me to the hospital, I'm dying, but they wouldn't take me because they were afraid they'd get in to trouble. Although it was 90 degrees and humid, I was shivering and confused and couldn't get off the grass for weakness. They gave me water and finally brought me into the cottage to lay down. But the symptoms wouldn't go away, I couldn't talk properly (though the thoughts were in my head, I couldn't physically get them out), the waves of electricity kept running through my head, I was dizzy laying down, etc.) I guess I was suffering from shock. Hours later, I gained enough strength to get up off the couch and change from my sweaty clothes and was horrified to discover that I had lost control of my bowels. I asked my "friend" about it, and she said that it had happened when I had passed out hours earlier, but she didn't know how to "tell me." I hadn't even felt it, I was so numb. I was stuck at that cottage for a week with all these horrible symptoms hoping each day, they would go away, but they never did.

These really bad episodes have happened regularly since then, in the absence of anything to provoke it although since I went off the pill at 21 the actual pass-outs became less and less frequent, but I feel like I might pass out at least 5 or 6 times a week (the build up, without losing consciousness). I've even lost consciousness laying down flat before. One night I was in and out of consciousness in the hospital emergency with bp as low as 60/40 for 4-5 hours on an i.v. before I recovered enough for them to send me home, hardly able to walk with no explanation of what had happened. I had been at a party, and had 2 drinks in an 8 hour period prior to that attack. When I called them later to ask what caused the attack, they said I had suffered alcohol poisoning! (from 2 DRINKS???)

The good news for some of you who may be new to this condition, is that although I thought I would go literally insane (thought I was) in the beginning from the onslaught of physical symptoms, mental confusion and anxiety/depression that resulted, my body has compensated over the years for the peculiar things that happen in it and I function at quite a high level in the world.

I would be very interested to hear from any of you if you have chronic symptoms rather than just periodic episodes with suggestions on what has helped you, any diagnoses/causes you have been offered, etc.

Re: VasoVagal with Needles???

From: Wes Macaulay


I had a blood sample taken from the major vein in my forearm at my home, and moments afterward felt dizzy, nausea, and close to fainting. The nurse who was taking the sample told me that it was vaso-vagal syncopy. She said that about 1 in 20 people have this response to needle, and that it has something to do with a major nerve in the forearm near this vein. After a good dinner and something to drink a few minutes later, I felt much better.

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