Search

Fainting

830

Fainting (syncope) is a sudden transient loss of consciousness. It most often happens when the blood pressure is too low (hypotension) and the heart does not pump enough oxygen to the brain. Typically, a fainting spell lasts only a few seconds or minutes, and then the person regains consciousness. Fainting is common and a single spell usually is not serious. 

September 14, 2004 — The Task Force for the Diagnosis and Management of Syncope of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). The purpose of this document is to provide specific recommendations on the diagnostic evaluation and management of syncope.

This document has been retired and replaced by "Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Syncope (Version 2009)."

Some abnormal heart rhythms can happen without the person knowing it, while some may cause the feeling of the heart “racing,” lightheadedness, or dizziness.  At some point in life, many adults have had short-lived heart rhythm changes that are not serious. 

Cardioversion is a corrective procedure where an electrical shock is delivered to the heart to convert, or change, an abnormal heart rhythm back to normal sinus rhythm. Most elective or "non-emergency" cardioversions are performed to treat atrial fibrillation (A Fib) or atrial flutter (AFL), non-life threatening abnormal heart rhythms. Cardioversion is used in emergency situations to correct an abnormal rhythm when it is accompanied by faintness, low blood pressure, chest pain, difficulty breathing, or loss of consciousness.