Feb 11, 2007

fainting in your sleep

I thought it sounded silly until I did a little Googling and discovered a medical article discussing "sleep syncope," or fainting during sleep [pdf].
In summary, we propose that sleep syncope (or vasovagal syncope interrupting sleep) is a clinical entity and will eventually be confirmed by opportune polysomnographic recordings in patients with suggestive histories. Patients presenting with typical vasovagal symptoms should be asked specifically about nocturnal episodes and considered, in the first instance, for ambulatory ECG monitoring. If symptomatic bradycardia is demonstrated and the episodes are relatively frequent, then sleep monitoring of EEG, ECG and blood pressure will confirm the diagnosis. Other causes of loss of consciousness should be excluded.
So there you have it. No snark, just plain old science.

(Read more about regular old passing out--syncope--here.)

[133rd in a series]


Sue Dee said...

I am a 36 year old female and an avid runner. My baseline pulse and blood pressure are low due to years of cardio training. I have experienced syncopal episodes since early childhood. It wasn't until about two years ago that they started to occur in my sleep. Quite frankly it was scary at first. I would wake up trying to pull myself into consciousness and making an effort to get my heart rate up and to actively take breaths. You actually feel as though you are fighting off death for about 20 to 30 seconds. I have also had periods of paralysis during sleep and upon waking. I understand that the connection is being made to vasovagal stimulation but, mine has doesn't have anything to do with a bowel movement. I am looking for some possible suggestions as to what it could be triggering these events in order to prevent future episodes. Thanks for your thoughts. Sue Dee

Jim Anderson said...

Sue, first off, I am not a physician, so do not take my thoughts as medical advice. I am only able to point you toward further information on syncope, and to suggest that if you're not seeing a syncope specialist, that you talk with your primary care physician for a recommendation.

The European Heart Journal has an interesting article on the proper diagnosis and treatment of syncope, if you haven't already seen it.

Sue Dee said...

Thanks Jim, the article was helpful! I will be seeing my PCP soon. Sue Dee

AW said...

Hello Sue , I believe we have the exact same condition. What part of the world are you in. I found a great doc in the Los Angeles area