I was called by one of my hospitals to appear on a segment about vasovagal syncope on the show Salamat Dok. It was actually the first time I had gone to an actual studio. I was very nervous as you can see in the videos. Hosts Bernadette Sembrano and Alvin Elchico were very professional and the studio staff were very helpful and accommodating.
It was an interesting experience but I don’t like seeing myself on video to be honest. If I can avoid going on video, I would.
If you have an iWant account, you can still view the whole episode here.
Vasovagal Syncope (for non-medical folks)
Just what is vasovagal syncope? It’s also known as a “common faint” or “himatay.” It’s the most common cause of transient loss of consciousness and happens because your blood pressure suddenly drops or your heart rate suddenly slows down or, in most cases, both. There are usually identifiable triggers such as:
- Prolonged periods of standing
- Being in a warm environment
- Straining to urinate or have a bowel movement
- Sight of blood
- Pain or fear
People who experience vasovagal syncope usually feel unwell or dizzy prior to the actual episode of loss of consciousness. Some report tunnel vision and a feeling of warmth all over their body. They will look pale and diaphoretic most of the time. During the episode, they may have short convulsive movements. Witnesses who check on the patient usually report a momentary absence of pulse or a slow and weak pulse.
Vasovagal syncope is usually diagnosed just by knowing the circumstances surrounding the episode. Sometimes, a tilt table test is performed to confirm that a patient is prone to fainting.
How do we treat it? Unfortunately, there are no medications that can reliably prevent episodes of vasovagal syncope. We usually reassure the patient and tell them about physical counter-pressure maneuvers such as leg-crossing, squatting, and arm-tensing. [Here’s a pamphlet from the Cleveland Clinic about this.] These can help prevent or lessen the number of vasovagal episodes. The good news is that — for most cases — vasovagal syncope has a good prognosis. That is, it won’t increase your risk for cardiovascular disease.