Does A Therapy for Reflex Vasovagal Syncope Really Exist?

  • Simone RomanoEmail author
  • Lorella Branz
  • Luigi Fondrieschi
  • Pietro Minuz
Review article


Syncope is a temporary loss of consciousness due to transient global cerebral hypoperfusion. Reflex syncope is the most frequent, representing 21% of all types of syncopal events, and includes: (a) the vasovagal syncope (classical type); (b) the situational syncope; (c) the carotid sinus syncope and (d) non-classical forms. An accurate anamnesis and physical examination are fundamental for the diagnosis. Although limited evidence is available regarding the efficacy of some treatments, a number of these can be successfully used in the clinical practice. It is, however, important to personalize the therapeutic approach in order to achieve an efficient reduction or suppression of syncopal episodes. Patients should be reassured about the benignity of these events and the possibility of reducing their frequency over time. They should be also educated on how to recognize and abort incoming syncopal episodes. Patients may be advised to increase their introit in water and salt, as well as to reduce vasoactive medications, if no contraindications exist. Orthostatic training may be beneficial but only in very motivated young patients capable of strictly adhering to the exercise plan. So far, any proposed pharmacological treatment has demonstrated very limited efficacy and, therefore, it should be tried in case of failure of non-pharmacological approaches. Pacemaker implantation is clearly indicated in patients with documented cardioinhibitory syncope in the absence of a vasodepressor component, which can compromise their quality of life. Despite the American and European guidelines for the treatment of syncope are similar, still some differences can be denoted. Aim of this study is to evaluate the management of patients with recurrent syncopal episodes focusing on pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches.


Reflex syncope Vasovagal syncope Treatment Pacemaker American and European guidelines Blood pressure 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Italian Society of Hypertension 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simone Romano
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lorella Branz
    • 1
  • Luigi Fondrieschi
    • 1
  • Pietro Minuz
    • 1
  1. 1.Syncope Unit, Section of General Medicine and Hypertension, Department of MedicineUniversity of Verona, Policlinico GB RossiVeronaItaly

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