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Syncope is also called fainting or passing out. Syncope is a sudden, temporary loss of consciousness, followed by a fall from a standing or sitting position.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.


Syncope may be a sign that you have other health problems. Syncope caused by heart and brain problems is often serious and may be life-threatening.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

Heart monitor:

This is also called an ECG or EKG. Sticky pads placed on your skin record your heart's electrical activity.


is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

Pulse oximeter:

A pulse oximeter is a device that measures the amount of oxygen in your blood. A cord with a clip or sticky strip is placed on your finger, ear, or toe. The other end of the cord is hooked to a machine. Never turn the pulse oximeter or alarm off. An alarm will sound if your oxygen level is low or cannot be read.


There is no special medicine used to treat syncope. However, you may need to use medicine to help your heart pump strongly and regularly, such as beta-blockers. They may also help control the activity of the autonomic nervous system or maintain blood circulation. Medicines to help keep fluid and salt inside your body, such as steroids, may also be given.


You may need the following tests:

  • Blood tests: You may need blood taken to give caregivers information about how your body is working. The blood may be taken from your hand, arm, or IV.

  • Arterial doppler: An arterial doppler test is done to check blood flow through an artery. A small metal disc with gel on it is placed on your skin over the artery. You can hear a "whooshing" sound when the blood is flowing through the artery. An "X" may be marked on your skin where caregivers feel or hear the blood flowing best. Caregivers may need to check blood flow more than once.

  • An echocardiogram is a type of ultrasound. Sound waves are used to show the structure and function of your heart.

  • Telemetry is continuous monitoring of your heart rhythm. Sticky pads placed on your skin connect to an EKG machine that records your heart rhythm.

  • A stress test may show the changes that take place in your heart while it is under stress. Stress may be placed on your heart with exercise or medicine. Ask for more information about this test.

  • Tilt table test: If you have problems with fainting, you may need a tilt table test. This test checks to see what happens to your heart and your blood pressure when you change positions.

Treatment options:

  • Education: Knowledge about the causes (sudden changes in position or straining) and symptoms of syncope may be important. Knowing what causes your syncope may help you prevent another fainting event. This may include lying down, uncrossing your legs, or moving or pressing your arms or legs.

  • Fluid and salt intake: Increased intake of liquids and salt through salt tablets or sports beverages may prevent syncope.

  • Tilt training: This is training yourself to stand for 10 to 30 minutes each day against a wall. This helps your body to decrease the effects of posture changes and reduces the number of your fainting spells.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.