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?
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What are the signs and symptoms of fainting (syncope)?
With fainting (syncope), the patient is unaware that they have passed out and fallen to the ground. It is only afterward that they understand what has happened.
There may be symptoms or signs before the syncopal episode, which may include:
- The person may feel lightheaded, nauseated, sweaty, or weak. There may be a feeling of dizziness or vertigo (with the room spinning), vision may fade or blur, and there may be muffled hearing and tingling sensations in the body.
- With pre-syncope or a near-faint, the same symptoms will occur, but the person doesn't quite lose consciousness.
During the episode, when the person is unconscious, there may a few twitches of the body which may be confused with seizure activity.
The person may have some confusion after wakening but it should resolve within a few seconds.
After a syncopal episode, there should be a quick return to normal mental function, though there may be other signs and symptoms depending upon the underlying cause of the faint. For example, if the individual is in the midst of a heart attack, he or she may complain of chest pain or pressure.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.
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