Carotid sinus syndrome (CSS) can cause prodromal symptoms of syncope such as dizziness and nausea. Patients with end-stage cancer lose self-efficacy associated with reduced activities of daily life (ADL). Herein, we report a case of end-stage cancer in which self-efficacy was enhanced as the patient gained self-control of prodromal symptoms of syncope.
A 70-year-old patient with end-stage esophageal cancer and enlarged supraclavicular lymph nodes developed CSS. The CSS was a mixed type with both bradycardia and decreased blood pressure, accompanied by prodromal symptoms prior to syncope episodes. The patient incidentally discovered that he could decrease the duration of symptoms by contracting the muscles in his hands and legs. By applying this coping method at the onset of prodromal symptoms, he was also able to reduce the severity and duration of symptoms, which resulted in enhanced self-efficacy. As a result, the frequency of prodromal symptoms also decreased even though ADL improved.
This patient was diagnosed with vasoinhibitory-predominant mixed-type CSS. The coping method the patient developed seemed to avoid the onset of abrupt blood pressure decrease via peripheral vascular constriction action. Achievement of adequate coping such as self-control of prodromal symptoms enabled our patient to improve his self-efficacy even at the end stages of cancer. This case of enhanced self-efficacy could possibly illustrate a placebo effect for prevention of recurrence.