Strange episode

I have a question about an episode I had today. I’ve been feeling full headedness and some whooshing but today was differebt and to an extreme. I felt like I was being strangled and that blood was either rushing to or draining from my head. I felt chest pain. This lasted for about a minute. It was really scary. I thought my head would pop off. For the next hour there was tingling in top of my head.

I’ve never felt this before. If it happens again I think I’ll take myself to the hospital for a jugular scan. Ps I’m waiting for a surgery date from Dr Annino (I was supposed to hear early last week but they haven’t called me back. Calling gets me nowhere.

Any thoughts appreciated. My scans were MRA of neck w contrast, MRV and MRA of head without contrast. No compression noted. Cranial CT scan showed bilateral calcifications at top and at hyoid, 3.6cm styloids.

My non-medical (but kind of serious) opinion:
a) could be temporary external carotid artery compression
b) transient compression of the nerves

c) Signs of Gadolinium toxicity from MRI scan with contrast

1 Like

That sounds very scary, @Thans! The chest pain might have been caused by your vagus nerve. I get chest pain occasionally but used to get it more often & was always afraid it was a warning of an impending heart attack. After joining this forum & seeing an image of the vagus nerve, I figured out the chest/heart pain was coming from my vagus nerve because I know my heart is ok. The symptoms flare you had could have stimulated your vagus nerve to fire thus the chest pain. You know I’m not a doctor so going to the ER if you get those symptoms again is a good idea.

Also, @vdm’s suggestion of a reaction to the gadolinium from your MRA/MRV is a possibility. I had a horrible headache for a week after my MRV last year. I expect it was from the gadolinium.


That sounds scary, I hope you don’t have any more episodes of this! Definitely should get it checked out at the ER if you get any more chest pain, although as @Isaiah_40_31 says it could be vagus nerve related…

So crazy how there are so many differing thoughts on this! My dr wrote:

I dont know but it seems more blood flow related ( pressure) than vagus…vagus nerve dysfunction would be more dysautonomia, palpitations, maldigestion etc the pressure fullness seem vascular/ csf

But what i got from reading your ENT consult that its mainly jugular vein in the crossroads, and that sort of fits….csf has to empty into venous system eventually. The conventional neuro view is that you have to have papilloedema to have incr csf pressure, but i understand from the csf flow studies and discussions with bender and patient outcomes ( resolution of weird things) that it can be subtle and “fluid” and move around ( the extra csf). Bender has fixed stuff like dysphonia, daily persistent headache, head fullness/ vice feeling….etc so these are likely manifestations of poor drainage.

Then someone from the ES FB wrote:

Your jugular vein can be completely pinched off and you wouldn’t feel a thing. However, even slight pressure on your carotid artery can cause this exact symptom. When people get choked out and black out it is because of pressure on the outside of their carotid artery. I get the exact episode you’re describing on a near daily basis from carotid artery compression.
The artery does not need to be occluded for external compression on the artery to cause you to black out or have very extreme symptoms. It is the same reason why a fighter can choke someone out without causing them a stroke.

I recommend having a CTA to assess for bone proximity to carotid artery.

Definitely has nothing to do with your jugular veins

1 Like

@Thans, We’ve had a few members who’ve had both IJV & ICA compression. Vascular compression is often intermittent as opposed to full time & occurs when the head is turned so that the offending styloid is in position to irritate/constrict the vessel(s). Perhaps your episode was carotid related due to your head position. It’s so hard to know & a dynamic CTA would be required to show if your ICA is also being affected. Very often the neutral head position used in most CT scans does not show vascular compression.

1 Like