Fainting (Syncope)

  • Medical Author:
    Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM

    Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Quick GuideBalance Disorders: Vertigo, Motion Sickness, Labyrinthitis, and More

Balance Disorders: Vertigo, Motion Sickness, Labyrinthitis, and More

Electrolyte imbalance

Electrolyte and hormone abnormalities may also be responsible for syncope; however, these causes are due to their effects on the heart and blood vessels.

Other medications and drugs

Other medications or drugs may also be potential causes of fainting or syncope including those for high blood pressure that can dilate blood vessels, antidepressants that can affect heart electrical activity, and those that affect mental status like pain medications, alcohol, and cocaine.

Pregnancy

Syncope is also related to pregnancy. Likely explanations include compression of the inferior vena cava (the large vein that returns blood to the heart) by the enlarging uterus and by orthostatic hypotension. Continue Reading

Reviewed on 2/3/2015
References
Medically reviewed by Martin E Zipser, MD; American Board of Surgery

REFERENCES:

Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008.

FIFA.com. Getting to the heart of cardiac problems.
<http://www.fifa.com/aboutfifa/federation/news/newsid=1121851.html>

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