GERD, Vagus Nerve, and Fainting

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dencha
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   Posted 4/27/2010 6:25 AM (GMT -6)   
Okay, another post has brought up a question I've had recently regarding a fainting spell I had a few years ago. After finishing a dinner out with friends, I suddenly became faint. I went to the bathroom in hopes that I'd feel better once I was away from the table. I was no better. I told my husband I had to get some air and I wanted to go outside. We left the table (I didn't think I'd make it to the door). I went outside (in the rain) and laid down on the sidewalk. My "helpful" husband raised my head off the ground, making me pass out completely. An ambulance was called, and my blood pressure was really low, which is why I was not getting enough oxygen to the brain. They ended up transporting me, and after a few hours I was released with no diagnosis as to why I had the big drop in blood pressure.

My question...could my reflux (after overeating and drinking) have irritated the vagus nerve, thus causing my big drop in BP?
I'd like to hear your thoughts...
Thanks!
Denise

Alcie
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Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 3487
   Posted 4/27/2010 7:32 AM (GMT -6)   
Denise
The vagus nerve connects the stomach and the heart. It certainly can send a signal to lower your blood pressure if stomach or esophagus are irritated. I get tachycardia if I eat one of my reflux foods (which include wine and beer and a whole page more). There are medical research articles on cardiogastric reflex (reflex with an E).

Passing out from a drop in blood pressure, often after standing up from lying down, is common in young women. I don't know the causes. I don't know your age or if you have low-normal blood pressure, which is a cause. I used to get faint and dizzy when I was young, had low-normal blood pressure then. My son called an ambulance for his former girlfriend for this once when she fainted after standing up fast.

You can have a tilt-table test for this condition if it happens often. If you have low blood pressure all the time they usually tell you to just eat more salt to get your blood pressure up.
Alcie
 
 


dencha
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   Posted 4/27/2010 8:23 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Alcie,
Thanks for the response.  Yes, I've always had low normal blood pressure.  (When I used to give blood, I always had to lay down for a while and drink juice, or I'd faint away.
 
I'm almost 58, so it's not from being young!  Thankfully, my blood pressure remains low, but doesn't bother me most of the time.  I do get head rushes easily.
 
This hasn't happened to me more than once, but I've felt it coming on on a few occasions.  I'd never connected to GERD before, but after reading some posts and information about how the vagus nerve can affect other parts of the body, I thought it might answer why I got this problem after eating and drinking--when I shouldn't have been a bit dehydrated.
 
I will definitely research the cardiogastric reflex information online.  Thanks for sharing the information!
 

stkitt
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Date Joined Apr 2007
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   Posted 4/27/2010 8:48 AM (GMT -6)   
Good Morning Denise,

The vagus nerve helps to regulate the heart beat, control muscle movement, keep a person breathing, and to transmit a variety of chemicals through the body. It is also responsible for keeping the digestive tract in working order, contracting the muscles of the stomach and intestines to help process food, and sending back information about what is being digested and what the body is getting out of it.

When the vagus nerve is stimulated, the response is often a reduction in heart-rate or breathing. In some cases, excessive stimulation can cause someone to have what is known as a vaso-vagal response.

Before a faint due to vasovagal syncope, you may experience some of the following signs and symptoms:

Pale appearance to your skin
Lightheadedness
Nausea
Feeling of warmth
A cold, clammy sweat
You did the right thing, laying flat on the ground but the raising of your head to soon did not give you time to recover IMHO.

To answer you question, yes the GERD issues could cause you to have a syncopal episode.

My daughter has had many of these episodes and fainted from the vasovagal stimulation.



Gentle Hugs,

Kitt

couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 12290
   Posted 4/27/2010 3:12 PM (GMT -6)   
I've been sitting at the dinner table eating and talking when suddenly everything tilts on me. I have to close my eyes, stop everything I'm doing and breath deep. It goes away as quickly as it came. It's definately an odd feeling.

Joy

dencha
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Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 6925
   Posted 4/27/2010 8:06 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks to everyone for responding. Just recently, after reading some posts, I started thinking that after eating a big meal, the GERD issue was probably the culprit. My husband now knows the error of his ways, and next time will hold my legs up instead!

Kitt, your medical information is very helpful.
Live and learn.
Take care!
Denise

NeedingAnswers
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2010
Total Posts : 93
   Posted 4/27/2010 9:21 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey, everyone! Was wondering what all symptoms could be caused by the vagus nerve? I've had some strange episodes while, or immediately after eating. One time the back of my neck started aching while eating, it was strange.  One time about 15 minutes after eating, I didn't exactly feel lightheaded, but sort of weak feeling, it's hard to explain.  Also get hiccups immediately after ever meal or after just drinking water. I've been having a lot of other symptoms with chest discomfort and back aches. I'm pretty much miserable and have no idea what to do to get things back to good. Having an upper endoscopy tomorrow.

Post Edited (NeedingAnswers) : 4/27/2010 8:26:55 PM (GMT-6)


couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 12290
   Posted 4/28/2010 7:09 PM (GMT -6)   
Good luck on your scope, needinganswers.
It could be your vegus nerve.

Joy

dencha
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Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 6925
   Posted 4/29/2010 6:31 AM (GMT -6)   
Good luck with your endoscopy...hope you find the answers you're needing! Keep us posted.
Denise

stkitt
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Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 4/29/2010 7:15 AM (GMT -6)   
Hope your scope went well and perhaps you even have the priliminary report.



Hope your Thursday is a good one.



Kindly,



Kitt

NeedingAnswers
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2010
Total Posts : 93
   Posted 4/29/2010 6:48 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks to everyone for the good luck wishes.  I wasn't able to speak with my doctor after the procedure.  All I know right now is he found irritation in my esophagus which he took a biopsy of.  I swear I heard one of the nurses say something about Barrett's esophagus but I was still groggy from the medication.  Really hope I'm just being paranoid and didn't really hear that!  Next Wednesday I have a follow up appointment with him.  Guess I'll know more then.

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 6925
   Posted 4/29/2010 8:46 PM (GMT -6)   
Don't worry...you're lucky you're seeing your doctor so soon after your procedure. That's not always the case. Let us know what he says!
Take care,
Denise

Alcie
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Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 3487
   Posted 4/29/2010 8:51 PM (GMT -6)   
Sometimes the fainting thing is called cardio-esophageal reflex. Also look for linked angina. One report was called Coronary spasm reflects input from adjacent esophageal system. See also atypical coronary artery spasm. A recent article was called "Coronary Thrombosis - The culprit is not just Plaque."

I had to find this stuff for myself because my docs didn't believe me that my reflux was causing vasospasm and tachycardia. I had a heart attack in 2006, and didn't believe I just had a clot - before the last article was even published.
Alcie
 
 


sunnycat
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Date Joined Jun 2010
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 6/9/2010 1:55 PM (GMT -6)   
I have many of the same symptoms you all have been talking about. I have GERD, and frequently I have a faint feeling, dizziness, irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing. I was taking omeprazole for the GERD for over a year, and it seemed to help. Approximately eight months ago, I started having the distressing symptoms, which in turn caused great anxiety because I didn't know what was happening to me. I had two visits to the ER for tachycardia. The first visit they said it was a vasovagal response, but did not know the cause. The second time, they said the only thing they could find was a slightly irregular heart rhythm and low potassium.

I followed up with my NP, am taking blood pressure meds and antianxiety meds, and had a stress test done. They found my heart to be in great shape, just a slight irregular heart beat that is apparently common in women, especially if they have been athletic at any point in their life. While I was relieved about this, I still continue to have the distressing symptoms. I have since weaned off the omeprazole after reading it causes all kinds of side effects similar to what I am experiencing. My question is, if it is vasovagal in nature, how can we treat or help it to avoid going through this?

I am curious to find out how everything went for NeedingAnswers?

Thanks for listening!

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 3487
   Posted 6/9/2010 4:27 PM (GMT -6)   
For people, usually women, who have low blood pressure, sometimes the treatment is medication, but sometimes just eating salt. I'm sure you can web-search good information, bettern than a few personal esperiences on forums. Definitely ask your cardiologist! If you don't have one, get one.
Alcie
 
 


french57
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Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 6/22/2010 7:20 PM (GMT -6)   
  I have been feelling a bit lightheaded for the past for months. I would sit down for a few minutes and I'd feel fine. But things have gotten worse and I've actually passed out twice in the past three weeks. I don't feel dizzy but more unbalanced. I have a hard time standing up straight without feeliing like I'm loosing my balance. I went to a ear nose and throat specialist but he hasn't found anything. I've also been to my cardiologist and he has me going for some tests. Anyone have a similar problem or ideas?

couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 12290
   Posted 6/22/2010 8:02 PM (GMT -6)   
Do you have heartburn, too?

Joy

stkitt
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Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 6/23/2010 8:39 AM (GMT -6)   
Fainting is not normal, although the cause may not be serious. I would highly recommend that you follow up with the tests your cardiologist has recommended.



There are many reasons for fainting way to numerous to list here.



I wish you the best in finding the cause of your fainting episodes.



Kindly,
Kitt

CathyA
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Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 1327
   Posted 6/24/2010 2:13 PM (GMT -6)   
First I would ask what you had to eat.
I discovered that I would almost pass out when I ate at a Greek restaurant. Come to learn, it was probably from all the "amines" in the food. Funny thing, the next time we went there with friends (I learned to take an NSAID before-hand to counteract the effect of the amines), I was okay, but the other woman with us got faint after eating!
That's why I asked what you had to eat.

french57
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 6/27/2010 7:12 AM (GMT -6)   
I found out with the help of a heart monitor that my heart was stopping. I just had a pace maker put in. We'll see if that does the trick.

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 6/27/2010 8:51 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you for letting us know what happened and I am so glad you went to see a Dr. Would you mind sharing what your rhythm was before the pacemaker was placed ? I know you have A-Fib and am wondering what was happening? Also I have read that you are on Sotalol which fits for your A-Fib. I would guess you have a dual-chamber pacing and sensing pacemaker.



My Mother had this very thing and she was passing out while in bed ~ which is just plain scary ! I sent her to the ER in an ambulance as I was 2 hours away and she too had a permanent pacemaker implanted.



Kindly,



Kitt

opnwhl4
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Total Posts : 4831
   Posted 6/27/2010 5:05 PM (GMT -6)   
french57-
I don't wish to be nosey, but I am wondering how old you are? My aunt had the same problem and had a pace maker put in. She was about 52 or 54 at the time. Turns out she really didn't need the pace maker because it was early signs of a certain type of colon cancer. The cardiologist didn't talk with her GI doctor and it was about 9 years before they found the cancer.

Take care,
Bill
opnwhl4
Moderator: GERD/Heartburn
Nissen 6/06 and 5/09


french57
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 6/27/2010 6:16 PM (GMT -6)   
stkitt,
My heart was in sinus rhythm before the pacemaker was put in. You are correct about the dual chamber pacer.

Todd

french57
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 6/27/2010 6:21 PM (GMT -6)   
opnwhl4

I am 53 years old. I feel much better with the pacemaker.

Todd

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 6/28/2010 8:32 AM (GMT -6)   
Todd,


Thanks for the answer. I hope you continue to do well. We are all right here for you.



Kindly,

Kitt
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