A novel psychophysiological treatment for vasovagal syncope
- Cite this article as:
- Khurana, R.K., Lynch, J.J. & Craig, F.W. Clinical Autonomic Research (1997) 7: 191. doi:10.1007/BF02267981
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The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of transactional psychophysiological therapy (TPT) in a patient with recurrent vasovagal syncope (VVS) and to quantify the capacity of human dialogue to effect significant and consistent measurable therapeutic cardiovascular (CV) changes. A 31-year-old nurse with recurrent VVS and a reproducibly abnormal tilt-table test was refractory to pharmacological and conventional psychiatric treatments. She was treated with TPT. Her CV responses during psychotherapy were incorporated into the dialogue as an important source of communicative information, and she was taught psychophysiological techniques to correct exaggerated CV responses. These responses, during 16 weekly and 12 subsequent monthly sessions, were analysed using a one-way multiple analysis of variance. As TPT progressed, the magnitude and lability of CV responses as well as frequency of VVS were reduced. She has been relatively asymptomatic for 14 years post-therapy. In conclusion, (1) TPT may be an effective primary/adjunctive treatment for patients with VVS; (2) TPT may reduce syncopal episodes, perhaps by normalizing limbic input to the brainstem baroreflex system.