Pathophysiology of neurally mediated syncope: Role of cardiac output and total peripheral resistance

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28 Scopus citations


Syncope is a common clinical condition occurring even in otherwise healthy people without underlying cardiovascular disease. Neurally mediated syncope is by far the most common cause of syncope in individuals without any structural heart disease. Based on traditional wisdom, loss of sympathetic tone with relaxation of vascular smooth muscle is the key mechanism underlying the pathophysiology of syncope, especially in patients without an acute decrease in heart rate. However, this concept has recently been challenged. Some microneurographic studies indicate that sympathetic withdrawal may not always be a prerequisite even for the development of classic "vasodepressor" forms of syncope. Conversely, a decrease in cardiac output appears to be a determinant factor for syncope in most circumstances. This article reviews the relative contribution of cardiac output versus sympathetic vasoconstriction in neurally mediated syncope in otherwise healthy individuals. It is suggested that a moderate to severe fall in cardiac output with or without vasodilatation may contribute to syncope.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-26
Number of pages3
JournalAutonomic Neuroscience: Basic and Clinical
StatePublished - Sep 2014


  • Heart rate
  • Hemodynamics
  • Stroke volume
  • Sympathetic activity
  • The autonomic nervous system
  • Vasovagal syncope

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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