Table of Contents
- Fainting (syncope) facts
- Introduction to fainting (syncope)
- What causes fainting (syncope)?
- Heart rhythm changes
- Heart structural conditions
- Heart valve conditions
- Sudden cardiac death
- Postural hypotension
- Vasovagal syncope
- Orthostatic hypotension
- Vertebrobasilar artery disease
- Electrolyte imbalance
- Other medications and drugs
- What are the signs and symptoms of fainting (syncope)?
- How is fainting (syncope) diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for fainting (syncope)?
- Can fainting (syncope) be prevented?
Quick GuideBalance Disorders: Vertigo, Motion Sickness, Labyrinthitis, and More
Sudden cardiac death
In young people, especially athletes, fainting or syncope can occur because of abnormal thickening of parts of the heart muscle (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy). This may obstruct blood when it tries to leave the heart, especially when the heart is asked to beat harder during exercise. Sudden death in athletes may be foreshadowed by episodes of syncope.
Loss of intravascular fluid, that is the blood and water within the blood vessels, can also cause fainting or syncope. Usually, fainting will occur when a person stands up quickly from a lying or sitting position and there isn't enough time for the body to compensate by making the heart beat quicker, or having the blood vessels constrict to maintain the body's blood pressure and blood flow to the brain. This is referred to aspostural hypotension.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.
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