Stanford Cardiac Arrhythmia Service


Syncope is a temporary loss of consciousness and posture, usually called “fainting” or “passing out,” normally related to temporary insufficient blood flow to the brain.

Syncope can be caused by emotional stress, pain, pooling of blood in the legs due to sudden change in body position, overheating, dehydration, heavy sweating or exhaustion.

Some forms of syncope suggest a serious disorder:

The majority of children and young adults with Syncope have no structural heart disease or significant arrhythmia, so extensive medical work-up is rarely needed.

A careful physical examination by a physician, including blood pressure and heart rate measured lying and standing, is generally the only evaluation required. In other cases, an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) is used to test for abnormal heart rhythms. If EKG and cardiac tests are normal, the patient will undergo a tilt test.

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