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Fainting

Syncope

Fainting, commonly known as syncope or "blacking out", is a momentary loss of consciousness, often followed by a fall

About

Fainting can happen for a number of reasons, but it's usually related to a sudden drop in blood pressure or an abrupt and abnormal increase or slowing of your heart rate. These lead to a reduction in oxygen-rich blood flowing to your brain. This can be caused by an underlying heart problem.

Need to know

  • Symptoms of fainting icon plus

    Just before fainting, you may experience some warning signs, such as feeling hot, weak or nauseous. You may also feel dizzy, experience blurred vision or have difficulty hearing just prior to passing out. Other common warning symptoms include:

    • a cold sweat
    • ringing in your ears
    • confusion
    • palpitations

    An episode of fainting can sometimes be triggered by certain medications, standing too quickly or for too long, pain or emotional stress. The loss of consciousness associated with fainting is usually very brief, but will cause you to collapse if you're standing at the time.

  • Diagnosis icon plus

    Fainting may not be a sign of anything serious. However, if you've been fainting frequently, have chest pains, are pregnant or have a family history of heart disease, your GP or consultant may want to investigate the potential underlying cause. If they suspect you may have a heart problem, you might have an electrocardiogram to monitor your heart's rhythm and electrical activity, and a Holter monitor which you wear to record your heart’s rhythm over up to several days. A tilt-table test might be recommended if your fainting episodes seem to be related to a change in blood pressure when you sit or stand.
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    Treatment options for fainting will depend on the type you've been experiencing. Your consultant will discuss your options with you and in many cases, no treatment is needed. If an underlying cause of fainting is found, treating it should help prevent further episodes.
Consultant in theatres

Our consultants

We're proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion. 
 

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

  • London Bridge Hospital Facility

    London Bridge Hospital

    27 Tooley Street

    London

    SE1 2PR

    Appointments and Enquiries 020 7234 2009
    Imaging Appointments 020 7234 2773
    Switchboard 020 7407 3100

  • facility-HSC-flag-hero-582x582

    The Harley Street Clinic

    35 Weymouth Street

    London

    W1G 8BJ

    Appointments 020 7034 8181
    Enquiries 020 3131 7962

  • Wellington-south-hero-facility-582-582

    The Wellington Hospital

    Wellington Place

    London NW8 9LE

    Appointments 0207 483 5148
    Enquiries 020 3131 7478

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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