Good News, Bad News, and a New Diagnosis

Well, it seems that the fainting I mentioned in the previous post is here to stay.  I’ve had four different medical tests to determine the reason for the fainting and they revealed both good news and bad news.

The good news is that my heart is structurally sound.  This was a concern due to the fact that I have been diagnosed with Stickler Syndrome.  A related disorder, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (another genetic connective tissue mutation), often affects the heart’s structure.  After a echocardiogram and a stress test, they have concluded that as of right now, my heart looks good – both at rest and during exercise.  I do have occasional problems with the electrical signals.  I had a 24-hour ECG (Holter monitor) which showed that when I had symptoms my heart’s electrical signals weren’t working exactly right, sometimes causing an extra beat, sometimes causing a beat to come too early.  Right now this is happening less than 1% of the time (according to the test) so isn’t a concern.

I also have been given a new diagnosis after “passing” a tilt table test – passing out that is!  A tilt table test is when you are strapped to a table which is then tilted up so that you are in standing position but still strapped to the now vertical table.  You are then left in this position while your blood pressure, heart rate, etc. are monitored.  To “pass” you pass out – which I did after about 15 minutes.  The idea is to initiate an episode to achieve a diagnosis.

Following the test, I was diagnosed with Neurocardiogenic Syncope.  Basically, for some (unknown) reason, after a random trigger like standing, holding my arms above my head, being overheated, etc. my heart rate drops and I pass out to restore blood flow to my brain.  Fortunately, I wake up as soon as my body is horizontal.

I was also told by the nurses that I was “the most pleasant passer-outer they’d had yet.”  When I woke up after passing out, I said a very chipper, “Hi!” then when they told me I had passed out and they got the information they needed I said, “Yay!”

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