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A Case of Neurocardiogenic Syncope


Author(s)

David F. Dean (rr)
Department of Biology
Spring Hill College
ddean@shc.edu

Abstract

“Allison Jacobson” is a 19-year-old sophomore majoring in pre-med. The past few weeks she has been studying for finals. She feels tired, even though she knows she has been getting enough sleep at night. She also has frequent headaches, and several times it has felt like her heart “missed a beat.” Yesterday at lunch she fainted while waiting in line at the cafeteria. Students read a short description of the patient’s history and symptoms, then answer a set of directed questions designed to probe their understanding of the anatomy, physiology, and pathology underlying the Allison’s condition. The case has been used in both a sophomore-level course in human anatomy and physiology and a senior-level course in general physiology.


Objectives

  • Understand how end systolic volume, end diastolic volume, stroke volume, cardiac output, and total peripheral resistance relate to systemic arterial blood pressure.
  • Understand how the Frank-Starling law of the heart relates to cardiac output, and the mechanism by which the baroreceptor reflex acts to maintain systemic arterial blood pressure.
  • Learned about the autonomic neurotransmitters and the receptors they bind to in the heart.
  • Learn the definition of the term dysautonomia.
  • Understand the mechanism by which neurocardiogenic syncope occurs, the symptoms it produces, and how it is treated.

Keywords

Nervous system; neurocardiogenic syncope; NCS; heart; cardiac; Frank-Starling law; stroke volume; end systolic volume; end diastolic volume; baroreceptor reflex; dysautonomia; head-up tilt

Educational Level

Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division

Format

PDF

Type Methods

Directed

Language

English

Subject Headings

Physiology  |   Medicine (General)  |  


Date Posted

12/02/05

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