What is Convulsive Syncope?
Clinically, collapsing or passing out is referred to as syncope. When the volume of blood flowing to the brain suddenly and briefly decreases, it can result in this condition. Typically, fainting is caused by a benign, temporary cause.
A person may experience syncope if:
- Their blood pressure suddenly drops.
- There is a decline in the heart rate.
- There are variations in the quantity of blood in various body regions.
Conclusive Syncope refers to a syncope that involves the twitching or jerking of muscles or tense or rigid muscles. The two activities involved in this type of syncope are the myoclonic or tonic activities.
It is often hard to tell the difference between convulsive syncope and seizures, but it is not related to epilepsy. Syncope does not include unconsciousness caused by seizures.
The loss of consciousness associated with syncope is brief and can result in a fall, but it is followed by a rapid and full recovery.
Convulsive Syncope Symptoms
Convulsive syncope is sometimes accompanied by the following symptoms:
- A brief period of unconsciousness.
- Twitching and jerking of the muscles (myoclonic activity).
- Hearing difficulties.
- Muscle tension or rigidity (tonic activity).
- Increased anxiety and agitation.
- A visual “gray out.”
- A pale face.
Convulsive Syncope Causes
Convulsive syncope has the same causes as syncope without convulsions, such as:
In this type of reflex, the heart rate slows down and the blood pressure drops due to the expansion of the blood vessels.
The following triggers are responsible for the syncope reflex:
- Promptly getting to one’s feet (a condition known as pre-syncope or a “head rush”).
- Seeing blood.
- Trauma, stress, or discomfort that comes on suddenly and unexpectedly, as getting hit.
- Getting injected.
- Prolonged periods of standing.
- Donating blood or getting blood taken.
Additionally, there are other forms of reflex syncope, such as:
Situational syncope is a sudden reflex reaction to an event other than those mentioned above, such as:
- Lifting weights.
- sneezing, coughing, laughing, and swallowing.
- Getting a bowel movement.
- Performing with a brass instrument.
- Pain in the chest following physical activity.
- Sudden abdominal ache.
- Food consumption.
Convulsive Syncope Treatment
Convulsive syncope, which is cerebral anoxic seizure activity due to transient global blood flow impairment, can be challenging to distinguish from epilepsy. However, knowing the difference is important because some cases of syncope, such as those brought on by bradycardia, respond well to treatment. A prolonged course of anticonvulsant therapy is very expensive and can have significant morbidity consequences.
First aid therapy for a fainting individual includes:
- Assist the person in lying down.
- If possible, raise the feet higher than the head.
- Attempt to cool the individual by wiping them with a damp cloth or fanning them if they have fainted as a result of heat.
- If the unconscious person falls, check for injuries.
- Check the person’s respiration and pulse if they are unconscious before rolling them over.
- If the victim does not regain consciousness in a matter of seconds or has not recovered within a matter of minutes, dial 911 immediately.
Convulsive syncope therapy options include:
- Catheter ablation.
- ICD, or implantable cardioverter-defibrillator.
- Avoiding well-known triggers.
Convulsive Syncope vs Seizure
A seizure is a disorder that is defined by brief neurologic signs or symptoms that come from aberrant, paroxysmal, and hypersynchronous electrical neuronal activity in the brain. Whereas, “Convulsive syncope” refers to a common form of syncope characterized by myoclonic or tonic activity. It’s characterized by fainting followed by a few jerks before a full and spontaneous recovery.
Both convulsive syncope and seizure can result in a loss of consciousness and involuntary movements, although these two disorders are distinct in their etiology and characteristics. Convulsive syncope is brought on by a brief decrease in blood pressure and blood supply to the brain, which is typically brought on by a change in posture or a heart issue. Abnormal brain electrical activity causes seizures, which can have several causes.
Loss of consciousness is often the only sign of syncope. When a patient exhibits syncope as well as myoclonic jerks or convulsions, a diagnostic issue arises. This is why conclusive syncope often gets confused with seizures.
Convulsive syncope is characterized by a sudden onset of lightheadedness, pale appearance, and a fixed or upward eye deviation while sitting or standing, and usually lasts less than a minute. Seizures can happen in any posture, persist longer, cause disorientation and exhaustion, and have no discernible cause.