What are the Causes of Neurocardiogenic Syncope?

Neurocardiogenic syncope or vasovagal syncope is one of the most common causes of fainting. It happens when the body overreacts to certain triggers like blood pressure changes or experiencing extreme emotional distress. A trigger will cause a sudden drop in the heart rate and blood pressure, leading to a reduction of blood flow to the brain that causes a short loss of consciousness.

Is it Dangerous?

Neurocardiogenic syncope is normally not dangerous and usually does not require any treatment. However, it’s possible a person may be injured during a fainting episode. A person’s doctor could recommend tests to determine if there are any serious causes for the fainting such as a cardiac disorder.


According to the Mayo Clinic, a person could have any or all of the following symptoms when experiencing neurocardiogenic syncope:

• Dilated pupils
• Pale skin
• Dizziness or lightheadedness
• Tunnel vision-which means a person’s field of vision is so constricted that he or she can only see what is in front of them
• Slow, weak pulse
• Jerky and/or abnormal movements
• Nausea
• Blurry vision
• Yawning
• Cold, clammy sweats
• Feeling overly warm or hot

A person should recover after an episode of fainting within a matter of less than a minute. It’s important to never stand up too soon after a fainting spell, because it could result in making a person faint again.

What causes Neurocardiogenic Syncope?

This condition occurs when the part of the nervous system that regulates the heart rate and blood pressure malfunctions in response to an external stimuli. The heart rate slows down and the blood vessels in the legs expand. This lets blood pool in the legs and in turn, makes the blood pressure lower. Having such an extreme drop in blood pressure and a slower heart rate quickly stems blood flow to the brain and a person will faint.

Triggers for Fainting

There are many reasons why someone might faint and these can include; standing for a long period of time, being exposed to extreme heat, the sight of blood, straining to have a bowel movement, having blood drawn, seeing a bad accident, or a fear of bodily injury.

Diagnosing Neurocardiogenic Syncope

In order to correctly diagnose neurocardiogenic syncope, it involves ruling out anything else which may cause a person to faint. There are some tests a doctor could order and it may include the following; electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, exercise stress test, blood tests, and a tilt table test.

Medications and Treatment

Most situations involving this condition do not require any type of medical treatment. However, a person’s physician may wish to discover the triggers making someone faint and discuss ways of helping a person avoid them. However, if a person’s experience with neurocardiogenic syncope occurs often enough to affect their quality of life, a doctor may suggest medications or therapies to help.


Not all cases of neurocardiogenic syncope can be avoided and there is no cure for the condition. However, there are things a person can do to help limit the number of episodes they may experience. If a person feels faint, it’s important to lie down and lift the legs. This lets gravity to continue blood flow to the brain. If a person cannot lie down, sitting down and putting one’s head between the knees can help them feel better.

Eating Disorder Self Test. Take the EAT-26 self test to see if you might have eating disorder symptoms that might require professional evaluation. All answers are confidential.

Find a Treatment Facility Near You

Click on a state below to find eating disorder treatment options that could be right for you.

The information provided on EatingDisorders.com is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes and we encourage all visitors to see a licensed physician if they believe that they have an eating disorder. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of EatingDisorders.com nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.

Copyright © 2008-2017 EatingDisorders.com.
Company Information

© 2017 EatingDisorders.com. All rights reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of EatingDisorders.com's terms of service and privacy policy. The material on this site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.