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Swallow Syncope ?

Hi this is my 1st post here! I have EDS and POTS myself but today I'm posting about my 8yr old son. He is diagnosed with Autism and Hypermobility.

He has started getting blackouts when he's eating. It doesn't happen every meal but he's done it on 13 out of the past 17 days. It is definitely triggered by swallowing. Sometimes he describes it as a "failed swallow" where food gets "stuck" going down his throat, but he doesnt choke. Most of the time he says he fets a "whooshy" head, his eyes "feel like i have to go to sleep", his hearing goes, legs go wobbley and he goes very pale. If he stops eating and lays down he recovers within a few mins.

The trouble is it scares him when it happens, and as a result he's getting anxious about eating! His anxiety is making the whole thing worse and we're slipping into a vicious cycle of fear of eating, fear of swallowing, triggering more blackouts.

Our gp wasn't too concerned when I took him 2 weeks ago but she has done a peadiatrican referral.

I faint a lot from my own POTS so whilst reading to see if what my son has might be connected I discovered a condition called Swallow Syncope where the act of swallowing triggers the vasovagel nerve.

I'm worried the doctors will dismiss this as purely an anxiety based problem. I don't think it's the root cause - hes been having blackouts whilst totally relaxed/ happy watching tv eating his favourite macaroni cheese or pancakes! Other times when hes been anxious he has been able to eat fine.

Does anyone have any experience of this happening? What can a peadiatrican do?

Thank you!


1 Reply

You can see a video of Dr P Boon Lim talking about Swallow Syncope by visiting

. Ideally you should ask to see a heart rhythm specialist rather than a paediatrician. If you would like to talk to us about swallow syncope, you can contact us at info@stars.org.uk or call us on 01789 867503


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