Cardiovascular syncope or syncope of any kind can be very worrying. Syncope is simply the technical term for fainting, sudden loss of consciousness and when it’s related to your heart’s rhythm it is cardiovascular syncope.
Cardiovascular syncope often occurs because the normal heartbeat cannot pass from upper to the lower chambers of the heart. This blocking sensation stops the heartbeat from continuing at its regular pace and is it slows, so does blood flow to the brain, and fainting occurs.
Common Triggers of Syncope
Syncope can be caused by environmental factors. Common triggers could be:
- Excessive heat exposure
- Standing for too long a period
- Overeating and over-consumption of alcohol
- Fear, stress and anxiety
- Extreme pain
- Standing up too quickly
Management of Syncope
Syncope is something you can manage without treatment in many cases. The following steps are recommended to avoid fainting episodes:
- Ensure you are always well hydrated, drink at least 3 litres of fluids a day
- Be vigilant for warning symptoms such as dizziness or nausea and take steps to act immediately by sitting or lying down
- Carry out isometric exercises such as tensing the buttocks or leg muscles to encourage blood flow back into the heart
- Increase your salt intake (only recommended for patients with normal blood pressure readings)
Of course if you have arrhythmia which is causes regular cardiovascular syncope further treatment is an option.
Surgical Treatment for Cardiovascular Syncope
If your syncope is due to arrhythmia and comes alongside other symptoms you may be offered a number of surgical treatment options:
- Pacemaker implantation: this is the standard treatment if your syncope is caused by a slow heartbeat. The pacemaker will help return your heartbeat to a regular pace.
- Catheter ablation: this treatment is common for rapid heartbeats and involves the insertion of thin catheter wires to destroy abnormal cells within the heart and remove the abnormal electrical signals causing disruption to the heartbeat.
- Cardioversion: this involves the use of a controlled electric shock to return the heart’s normal rhythm.
These are just some of the options available. In most instances cardiovascular syncope will reduce with the right environmental and lifestyle changes. However, when there is a significant problem in the heart’s rhythm, further treatments are possible.
To discuss your symptoms in depth with Dr Begley and look at your treatment options, contact his office here.