Syncope is transient fainting due to decreased blood flow to the brain.

All the general information concerning the mechanisms causing unconsciousness, the symptoms and the different types of syncope are presented under the heading: The syncope, a dizzying subject.



Syncope or carotid sinus syndrome

Syncope related to carotid sinus syndrome is part of the so-called reflex syncope family.

In this case, the carotid arteries located in the neck trigger this type of syncope.


Controlling blood pressure depends on complex mechanisms. Among others, there are pressure sensors in the carotids, bringing the blood from the heart to the brain.

These are used to lower the pressure when they sense too much pressure.





For some unknown reason, sensors can become too sensitive. Stimulation of the neck (eg, shaving of the beard, significant rotational movement of the head) may then cause a decrease in heart rate and pressure leading to syncope.

This syndrome is found almost exclusively in people over 40 years old.




This type of reflex syncope can also be seen in bodybuilders, these people who are doing weight lifting. Most of them, raise high loads in a series having several repetitions. This effort increases the blood pressure and stimulates the carotid pressure sensors. It follows a slowdown in heart rate, a drop-in blood pressure. The onset of nausea or even vomiting is possible. It goes without saying that this kind of extreme effort is not recommand.


Which tests can be requested?

The diagnostic test of the carotid sinus syndrome is carotid sinus massage, or in other words of the carotid arteries in the middle of the neck. This manoeuvre is done under a heart monitor by a doctor. He or she firmly presses the carotid while trying to reproduce the reduction of the heart rate. Do not try this on yourself or on someone else at home!


What are the risks related to health?

The risk remains that of possible injuries caused by falling.


What is the treatment?

Some people will require a pacemaker, depending on the severity of the carotid sinus syndrome.


Some tips

Those who suffer from this syndrome must avoid any manipulation of the neck. It is also advisable not to wear tight clothes at the neck level.