What is the definition of Familial Neurocardiogenic Syncope?

Familial neurocardiogenic syncope (fainting) is a type of genetic vasovagal (nerve) syncope where an individual faints due to certain triggers, such as fear, seeing blood, extreme emotional distress, or other events, that causes their heart rate and blood pressure to suddenly drop, leading to reduced blood flow to the brain and a brief loss of consciousness. Other common causes include standing for too long, heat overexposure, having blood drawn, and straining to have a bowel movement. However, fainting can indicate a more serious disorder affecting the heart or brain, so it is best to check with a doctor.

What are the symptoms for Familial Neurocardiogenic Syncope?

Symptoms of familial neurocardiogenic syncope (fainting) may appear before an episode, such as pale skin, lightheadedness, tunnel vision, nausea, a cold, clammy sweat, feeling overheated, yawning, blurred vision, and vertigo (dizziness). During a vasovagal syncopal episode jerky, abnormal movements, a slow, weak pulse, and dilated pupils may occur. While the recovery from an episode usually begins rapidly, within less than a minute, standing up too soon (15-to-30 minutes) risks fainting again.

What are the current treatments for Familial Neurocardiogenic Syncope?

Considered to be mostly harmless, vasovagal syncope usually does not require treatment. However, it is possible to be injured during a fall. In addition, examination by a doctor may be needed to rule out heart or other disorders. It can also help to identify specific triggers to avoid episodes. If it feels as if a faint is coming on, it can help to lie down and elevate the legs. If the episodes are frequent, they may be treated with medications to treat low blood pressure, such as fludrocortisone acetate or selective serotonin inhibitors. Other treatments may include foot exercises and compression stockings to decrease pooling of blood in legs, increased dietary salt, drinking fluids, and avoiding prolonged standing and overexposure to heat.  In rare instances, an electrical heart pacemaker may sometimes be needed.
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  • Phase: Phase 2
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