Scientists offer the first specific treatment for syncope
The new treatment helps patients who regularly experience fainting due to minor heart rhythm disturbances.
Scientists have proposed for the first time a remedy for recurring fainting spells. They spoke about their research at a conference of the European Society of Cardiology. According to preliminary findings, frequent fainting can be controlled with the help of artificial pacemakers (pacemakers).
Fainting or syncope is a short-term loss of consciousness that is accompanied by muscle relaxation. The cause of this condition is a short-term disruption (weakening) of the blood supply to the brain. People can faint, for example, when blood pressure drops. During life, at least one fainting occurs with every second person.
Some suffer from regular fainting. Recurrent fainting worsens the quality of life, complicates the social adaptation of people. In some cases, triggers for this condition are known: fever, standing up suddenly. But often its triggers are unknown. Until now, there have been no specific methods of treatment and prevention of recurrent syncope.
What scientists have done
What scientists have done
The new study involved 128 people, each of whom had had at least two syncope during the previous year. All participants in the study showed “loss” of heartbeats on the tilt test. To carry out this test, a person is fixed on an inclined table, with which you can simulate a quick rise. At the same time, blood pressure and heart rate are monitored.
Scientists set out to test whether a pacemaker would help prevent syncope in these people. A pacemaker is an implantable device that generates regular impulses that make the heart beat in a constant rhythm: without slowing down and without skipping beats.
Pacemakers were implanted in all study participants. But half of the people were included in the control group: they did not include these pacemakers.
The study participants were followed for almost one year. During this time, 53% of people in the control group and 16% in the pacemaker group had fainting. In this study, a pacemaker reduced the risk of fainting by 77%. Scientists estimate that 11 pacemakers need to be implanted to prevent fainting in five people.
Scientists note that the treatment they proposed can only help some patients, since recurrent fainting has different causes. However, people who can be helped by a pacemaker can be easily identified using the so-called. tilt test – tests for the diagnosis of syncope.