Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Syncope Overview

Another name for Syncope is Fainting.

What is fainting?
A person who faints has a brief loss of consciousness, followed by immediate recovery. Those who faint are unable to maintain posture: they fall to the floor or slump in a chair when they lose consciousness, and then they become alert again quickly. Fainting is caused by a sudden reduction in blood flow to the entire brain. The brain stops working when blood flow stops for more than a few seconds. Fainting is common. About 60 percent of teenagers will have an episode of fainting before they are 18 years old.

What are the symptoms of fainting?
Symptoms that may occur before fainting include dizziness, lightheadedness, flushing, nausea, excessive sweating, palpitations, rapid pulse, weakness or fatigue.

How does the doctor treat fainting?
The treatment for a fainting episode depends upon the underlying cause. Treatment may not be necessary in adolescents and young adults. General treatment for fainting may include intravenous fluids, cardiac monitoring, and oral or intravenous glucose.

Continue to Syncope Incidence

Last Updated: Dec 10, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Syncope References
  1. Boehm KE, Morris EJ, Kip KT, et al: Diagnosis and management of neurally mediated syncope and related conditions in adolescents. J Adolesc Health 2001 Jan; 28(1): 2-9. [11137899]
  2. Crane SD: Risk stratification of patients with syncope in an accident and emergency department. Emerg Med J 2002; 19: 23-27. [11777866]
  3. Gatzoulis K, Sideris S, Theopistou A: Long-term outcome of patients with recurrent syncope of unknown cause in the absence of organic heart disease and relation to results of baseline tilt table testing. Am J Cardiol 2003; 92: 876-879. [14516899]
  4. Tanel RE, Walsh EP: Syncope in the pediatric patient. Cardiol Clin 1997 May; 15(2): 277-94. [9164716]
  5. Wieling W, Colman N, Krediet CT, Freeman R. Nonpharmacological treatment of reflex syncope. Clin Auton Res. 2004 Oct;14 Suppl 1:62-70. [15480932]
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