Predicting Vasovagal Responses: A Model-Based and Machine Learning Approach

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Vasovagal syncope (VVS) or neurogenically induced fainting has resulted in falls, fractures, and death. Methods to deal with VVS are to use implanted pacemakers or beta blockers. These are often ineffective because the underlying changes in the cardiovascular system that lead to the syncope are incompletely understood and diagnosis of frequent occurrences of VVS is still based on history and a tilt test, in which subjects are passively tilted from a supine position to 20° from the spatial vertical (to a 70° position) on the tilt table and maintained in that orientation for 10–15 min. Recently, is has been shown that vasovagal responses (VVRs), which are characterized by transient drops in blood pressure (BP), heart rate (HR), and increased amplitude of low frequency oscillations in BP can be induced by sinusoidal galvanic vestibular stimulation (sGVS) and were similar to the low frequency oscillations that presaged VVS in humans. This transient drop in BP and HR of 25 mmHg and 25 beats per minute (bpm), respectively, were considered to be a VVR. Similar thresholds have been used to identify VVR's in human studies as well. However, this arbitrary threshold of identifying a VVR does not give a clear understanding of the identifying features of a VVR nor what triggers a VVR. In this study, we utilized our model of VVR generation together with a machine learning approach to learn a separating hyperplane between normal and VVR patterns. This methodology is proposed as a technique for more broadly identifying the features that trigger a VVR. If a similar feature identification could be associated with VVRs in humans, it potentially could be utilized to identify onset of a VVS, i.e, fainting, in real time.

Original languageEnglish
Article number631409
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
StatePublished - 10 Mar 2021


  • baroreflex sensitivity
  • machine learning
  • modeling and simulation
  • rat
  • relaxation oscillator
  • vasovagal response
  • vasovagal syncope


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