New approaches to the treatment and prevention of neurally mediated reflex (neurocardiogenic) syncope

Daniel P. Melby, Joseph A. Cytron, David G. Benditt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Neurally mediated reflex syncope (sometimes referred to as neurocardiogenic syncope), encompasses a group of disorders of which the best known and most frequently occurring forms are the vasovagal (or common) faint, and carotid sinus syndrome. Postmicturition syncope, defecation syncope, cough syncope, and other situational reflex faints are also included among these conditions. With the exception of carotid sinus syndrome in which cardiac pacing is effective, treatment of most neurally mediated reflex faints is shifting from reliance on various drugs to greater emphasis on education and nonpharmacologic therapy. Initial management should include counseling of patients regarding recognition of early warning symptoms, and avoidance of precipitating factors. Volume expansion with salt tablets or electrolyte-containing beverages and patient education on how to perform isometric arm contractions and/or leg crossing in order to abort impending syncope are also important. Thereafter, tilt-training has demonstrated benefit in several clinical studies. When symptoms remain despite the above-noted interventions, pharmacologic therapy with midodrine or a nonselective β-blocker can be considered. In the case of most neurally mediated reflex faints, permanent cardiac pacing should be reserved only for those older patients with significant bradycardia or asystole at time of syncope when all other interventions have failed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-390
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Cardiology Reports
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2004


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