Tussive syncope

From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary



A form of syncope associated with paroxysms of coughing


Coughing is a natural reflex of the body that is meant to expel and clear the breathing passages from irritants, foreign particles, and infective agents. Through coughing, the body release (voluntarily or involuntarily) the air from the lungs in its attempt to protect the body against respiratory obstructions and harm. Cough may be acute or chronic. An acute cough is a sudden onset and presents shorter than chronic cough. When cough is chronic it means coughing is present for a relatively longer period. Cough syncope is one of the possible complications that may arise during this period.

Cough syncope is the loss of consciousness due to a reduced cerebral blood flow, which in turn is triggered by prolonged and forceful coughs. Clinical cases of cough syncope have been reported since the year 1876. It was first described as laryngeal vertigo.1 At present, syncope following cough is termed cough syncope or tussive syncope. It results from a significantly high intrathoracic pressures caused by coughing. However, there is no consensus as to how a high intrathoracic pressures lead to cough syncope has been reached to date.


  • cough syncope
  • laryngeal syncope

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1 Dicpinigaitis PV, Lim L, Farmakidis C. Cough syncope. Respir Med. 2014 Feb;108(2):244-51. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2013.10.020. Epub 2013 Nov 5.