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.
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Syncope is a symptom that can be caused by many different factors. When it comes to treatment, there is no "one size fits all" approach, making an accurate diagnosis very important. Treatment should address the underlying cause of syncope.
The risk of cardiovascular syncope increases with age. Cardiovascular syncope usually is sudden. There may be no warning signs that an individual is about to faint. Review our list of risk factors and causes here.
2009 — The Task Force for the Diagnosis and Management of Syncope of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). Developed in collaboration with the European Heart Rhythm Association, the Heart Failure Association, and the Heart Rhythm Society. This is a revised version of the 2004 ESC Guidelines on Syncope.
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)."
March 9, 2017—Syncope has many causes and clinical presentations; the incidence depends on the population being evaluated. The purpose of this ACC/AHA/HRS guideline is to provide contemporary, accessible, and succinct guidance on the management of adult and pediatric patients with suspected syncope.
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.
This program is designed to provide electrophysiologists, cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons, internists, and associated professionals with state-of-the-art information.
This program is designed to provide electrophysiologists, cardiologists, internists, and associated professionals with state of the art information on invasive and non-invasive electrocardiography and electrophysiologic tools used in the diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of cardiac rhythm disorders