The effects of blood-draw and injection stimuli on the vasovagal response.
ABSTRACT Vasovagal reactions (VVR) are common, complicating and deterring people from various medical procedures. A recent perspective (R. R. Diehl, ) suggests that VVR developed from the adaptive process of hemorrhagic fainting, perhaps as a means of preparing for anticipated blood loss. The primary goal of this study was to compare vasovagal symptoms during intravenous-injection and blood-draw videos. Sixty-two young adults watched the videos. Vasovagal symptoms were assessed with self-report, blood pressure, and heart rate variability. As predicted, participants reported more vasovagal symptoms and anxiety following the blood-draw video. Sympathetic nervous system activity (low- to high-frequency ratio) decreased during both videos but significantly more during the blood-draw video, although this could be reversed by the Applied Tension technique. Results are discussed in terms of the relevance of specific stimuli and emotions in VVR.