STARS Patient Information


There are many different causes of syncope, some common and some rare. Most cases of syncope are due to the common faint. Fainting is caused by a short-term reduction in blood pressure to your brain.

Syncope is caused by a problem with the heart or by a problem in the regulation of blood pressure.

Reflex Syncope

Reflex Syncope is one of the most common forms of syncope. Sometimes called Vasovagal Syncope or Neurally Mediated Syncope, it is a transient condition resulting from intermittent dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system, which regulates blood pressure and heart rate.

Download Reflex Syncope information sheet for further information

Exercise advice for syncope and PoTS

Dr David Low, Clinical Research Lead, and Edward Caldow, Exercise Physiologist, provide innovative advice on the benefits of exercise for individuals with syncope or PoTS.

Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)

Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is a manifestation of autonomic dysfunction and is defined as an increase in heart rate of over 30 beats per minute when standing upright but without a postural fall in blood pressure; this is often made worse by even modest physical exertion. It is a relatively new disorder, which is slowly being recognized by the medical profession. It is often underappreciated by physicians, which can impact on the patient’s quality of life through misdiagnosis or being informed symptoms are “all in their head”. Historically, many patients with POTS were given a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME, anxiety or panic disorder.

Download PoTS information sheet for further information

Reflex Anoxic Seizures (RAS)

Reflex Anoxic Seizures (RAS) occur mainly in young children but can occur at any age. Any unexpected stimulus, such as pain, shock, fright, causes the heart and breathing to stop, the eyes to roll up into the head, the complexion to become deathly white, often blue around the mouth and under the eyes, the jaw to clench and the body to stiffen; sometimes the arms and legs jerk. After what seems like hours, but is probably less than 30 seconds, the body relaxes, the heart starts beating (sometimes very slowly initially) and the sufferer is unconscious. One or two minutes later the person may regain consciousness but can sometimes be unconscious for over an hour. Upon recovery the person may be very emotional and then fall into a deep sleep for two to three hours and looks extremely pale with dark circles under the eyes. RAS attacks may occur several times per day/week /month. The attacks appear to come in batches.

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