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Pacing Therapies for Vasovagal Syncope

Vasovagal Syncope (VVS) is mediated by a cardiac autonomic reflex with resultant bradycardia and hypotension, precipitating syncope. While benign and mostly well controlled, recurrent VVS can be debilitating and warrants intervention. Non-pharmacological management of VVS have had variable success. In patients with recurrent cardioinhibitory VVS, permanent pacing can be effective. The utility of pacing to preempt the syncopal depends on the prominent temporal role of bradycardia during the vasovagal reflex. Current guidelines recommend pacing as a therapy to consider in older patients with recurrent VVS. Although younger patients can benefit, one should be cautious given the long-term risk of complications. Available data appears to favor a dual chamber pacemaker with closed loop stimulation algorithm to prevent recurrent cardioinhibitory VVS. Several aspects, including mechanistic understanding of VVS and appropriate patient selection, remain unclear, and require further study.

Credits: Krishna Akella , Brian Olshansky, Dhanunjaya Lakkireddy, Rakesh Gopinathannair

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