Cold beverage-induced vasovagal syncope in a healthy young adult man: a case report

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Swallowing-induced syncope is rare and there are few case reports of it in the existing medical literature. Even rarer are instances involving young and healthy individuals, with no existing pre-conditions or apparent risk factors. Hence the value of such case reports in understanding the phenomenon better and potentially inferring patterns of practical interest is significant; here we describe an unusual case of a swallowing-induced syncope in a young, healthy, and active white man.

Case presentation

A healthy 32-year-old white man experienced a syncopal episode following the ingestion of a cold carbonated beverage on a hot day. He rapidly recovered consciousness and save for mild lightheadedness all ill effects disappeared within minutes. On examination no concerns were detected and he was discharged, with the cause being ascribed to esophageal stimulation effected vagus nerve overactivation.


The suddenness and unpredictability of swallowing-induced syncope make it a potentially dangerous condition, with risks both to the patient as well as, depending on the context, others. However, it is poorly understood due to its infrequency. The present case report adds to the body of much needed evidence which should help facilitate an improved understanding of the phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish
Article number37
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of Medical Case Reports
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2020


  • Fainting
  • Swallowing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Vagus nerve
  • Parasympathetic


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