Vasovagal syncope, also known as neurocardiogenic or neurally mediated syncope, can lead to recurrent episodes of fainting caused by excessive activity in the vagus nerve, leading to significant bradycardia or asystole for several seconds and/or hypotension.
Treatment for this condition is somewhat limited and usually aimed at avoidance techniques and liberalization of salt and fluid intake. Pharmacological therapy for the management of the hypotension aspect does exist; however, it does not for the bradycardia or asystole episodes. Implanting a pacemaker may relieve the condition. However, lifelong pacemaker therapy is not an ideal solution for a young person without other cardiac issues. In fact, the American College of Cardiology recommends a pacemaker for vasovagal syncope associated with symptomatic pauses only for people older than age 40.
Enter cardioneural ablation, a new treatment option for young adults who experience recurrent fainting associated with pauses in their heartbeat but who are otherwise free of heart disease. Lehigh Valley Heart and Vascular Institute is the only health center in the region – and one of just a handful in the nation – to offer this novel procedure.