What is vasovagal syncope?
Vasovagal syncope, or fainting, happens when something triggers the body’s nervous system to slow the heart rate and dilate the blood vessels, which leads to a rapid decline in blood pressure. If the blood pressure drops low enough, the brain is deprived of oxygen and the person faints. This can result in injury from falling.
The most common vasovagal responses to needles are sudden and severe pain, seeing a traumatic event, having blood drawn, and standing motionless for long stretches of time.
Do vaccines cause vasovagal syncope?
A vasovagal syncope vaccine injury can occur after a vaccination, especially to females between 11 and 18 years of age. A fall from vasovagal syncope must include an injury to qualify for vasovagal syncope vaccine injury compensation. Typical injuries from a vasovagal response include broken teeth, cuts that require stitches, and others.
While people have fainted from nearly all vaccines, some result in more frequent vasovagal responses:
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
- Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine (MCV4)
- Diphtheria, Tetanus or Pertussis (DTap, DT, Td, Tdap, DTP-Hib)
Most experts believe that the process of injecting the vaccine causes the vasovagal response, not the vaccine itself.
What are the symptoms of vasovagal syncope?
There are a number of warning signs, or prodromal symptoms before a person experiences a vasovagal response. These symptoms usually occur within a few minutes of a loss of consciousness and often include:
- Blurry vision
- Cold, clammy sweat
- Feeling of warmth
- Narrowing vision, or tunnel vision
- Pale skin
- Uncontrollable yawning
If you notice any of these symptoms, you may have time to prevent injury by sitting down or moving away from furniture that could cause injury when you fall.
People who experience vasovagal syncope usually regain consciousness within a few seconds, since lying down improves blood pressure almost immediately. However, they should not stand up too soon since being active can lead to another episode.
How is vasovagal syncope diagnosed?
Vasovagal syncope can be difficult to diagnose since it depends on specific triggers. However, doctors can make a correct diagnosis after reviewing the symptoms, the person’s health history, and the events that led to the vasovagal response.
Doctors also do a physical examination, which can help rule out other conditions that can cause vasovagal syncope.
How Is Vasovagal Syncope Treated?
Most people who have just one vasovagal response don’t need treatment. However, people who have recurrent vasovagal responses should be treated. Treatments, including drug therapy and exercise, are very effective and may eliminate fainting altogether.
It may take one or more medicines to reduce the number of vasovagal responses, and finding the right combination can take patience.
Regular exercise—especially muscle-tensing exercises—is helpful for people with vasovagal syncope who also have a condition called dysautonomia. However, if you have recurrent vasovagal responses, you should talk with your doctor before beginning a fitness plan. You may need to have stress testing to find your body’s exercise limits.
Am I Eligible For Vasovagal Syncope Vaccine Injury Compensation?
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) includes vasovagal syncope as a covered injury. It’s important to note that the vaccine injury isn’t the fainting itself, it’s the harm that’s caused by falling.
If you or a loved one has been injured from fainting after a vaccination, take our vaccine eligibility quiz to see if you qualify for compensation. Our experienced vaccine injury attorneys can file a claim for you with the VICP at no cost to you.