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Cardiol Rev. 2012 Jul-Aug;20(4):194-6. doi: 10.1097/CRD.0b013e31824c868f.

Laughter-induced syncope.

Author information

1
Department of Medicine, New York Medical College/Westchester Medical Center, Valhalla, NY 10595, USA.

Abstract

Reported cases of syncope caused directly by laughter are rare. The common scenario described in a few reports involved episodes of fortuitous laughter, sometimes followed by a short prodrome of lightheadedness, facial flushing, and dizziness, followed by an episode of definite syncope. There were no seizure-like movements, automatisms, or bladder or bowel incontinence. After the syncopal episodes that were seconds in length, the patients regained consciousness, and at that point were fully oriented. These episodes could recur in a similar situation with such laughter. Many of these patients subsequently underwent full syncope workups, without elucidating a primary cardiac or neurologic cause. In this review of laughter-induced syncope, we describe a patient of ours who fit these descriptions. This phenomenon is likely a subtype of benign Valsalva-related syncope, with autonomic reflex arcs coming into play that ultimately result in global cerebral hypoperfusion. Besides the Valsalva produced by a great fit of laughter, laughter itself has its own neuroendocrine and vasculature effects that may play a role.

PMID:
22314146
DOI:
10.1097/CRD.0b013e31824c868f
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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