The vagus nerve (aka pneumogastric nerve) is part of the autonomic central nervous system. It is the longest nerve in the autonomic nervous system. The vagus nerve is one of twelve nerves leading from the brainstem and the only one leading all the way to the abdomen. This nerve controls the functioning of most significant organs in the human body. It is the life-saving nerve for the unconscious person by dictating a constant and rhythmic heart rate. Fun fact: to support the autonomic nervous system, 90% of the brain's output power is designated to its functioning.
Vasovagal Syncope or fainting is the body's natural overreaction to specific situations such as needles being used, seeing blood and other events that invoke a response from the vagus nerve. It is a direct stimulus. The response results in an instant drop in blood pressure and heart rate. With the decrease in blood flow to the brain, an individual experiences episodes of unconsciousness. Rarely, if ever, does vasovagal syncope require a plan of treatment.
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