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Vasovagal response - Definition


The vasovagal response is a very common form of malaise and usually harmless. Symptoms are usually discomfort and anxiety with feelings of impending loss of consciousness. Generally, a vasovagal response is accompanied or preceded by a prodrome, meaning a warning sign of a malaise. These are conventionally described as palpitations, visual disorders such as a black veil before the eyes, dizziness, a feeling of weakness, sweating, tremors, tingling, flushing, and the perception that the patient will lose consciousness. It can sometimes lead to transient unconsciousness and the patient usually remembers the events leading up to the loss of consciousness. This malaise is due to a dysfunction of the vagal system: it slows the heart rate too, which causes discomfort. This can easily happen, for example due to a strong emotion. Totally benign and requiring no treatment, a simple test to search for another cause of the malaise should be done in cases of repeated attacks or in the absence of typical symptoms.