This is a very rare but life-threatening condition. It's also called fainting or "passing out.". Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (increased heart rate when standing), or POTS, is a rare clinical syndrome characterized by an increase in heart rate of at least 30 beats per minute on standing and orthostatic intolerance — when standing brings on symptoms such as palpitations, lightheadedness and fatigue. Saturday: 9AM - 5PM CST If a pulse is felt, note whether it is regular and count the number of beats in 15 seconds. Nearly half the time, the precise cause of the fainting episode is never identified . There are many types of cardiac arrhythmias that may cause syncope. After excluding other causes, the diagnosis is made on physical examination, medical history and tilt-table test. Fainting is a temporary loss of consciousness. NMS typically happens while standing and is often preceded by a sensation of warmth, nausea, lightheadedness, tunnel vision or visual "grayout." Understanding Fainting -- the Basics. Hypotension, or low blood pressure, can stem from a number of causes. Patients with VVS and without a serious medical condition usually can be managed in an outpatient setting. The affected individual may be referred to a heart specialist if cardiac syncope is suspected. A simple episode, also called a vasovagal attack or neurally-mediated syncope, is the most common type and happens most often in children and young adults. Feelings of anxiety, panic and fear can also result in fainting. The ANS controls automatic body functions, including heart rate, digestion, and respiration rate. Even if you believe the cause of the fainting is harmless, have the person lie down for 15-20 minutes before attempting to get up again. Aortic valve stenosis can be congenital (present from birth) or can develop in old age. Gravity pulls blood into the legs, bringing down blood pressure elsewhere in the body. Some medications are also associated with fainting or loss of consciousness. The following symptoms may occur leading up to a fainting episode: If a person with an underlying health condition faints, they will require treatment. Anyone who has a first episode of fainting needs to be evaluated by a health care practitioner as soon as possible. Fainting usually results from a lack of oxygen to the brain, such as from problems with the lungs or blood circulation or carbon monoxide poisoning. The medical term for fainting is syncope. The most common causes of fainting are vasovagal (a sudden drop in heart rate and blood pressure) and cardiac conditions. It is by far the most common form of reflex syncope. Causes of vasovagal syncope include the following: Situational syncope: This is a type of vasovagal syncope that only occurs in particular situations. Vasovagal syncope is often triggered by a combination of dehydration and upright posture. A person can press a button on the Holter monitor if they feel as though they are about to faint. Blood supplies oxygen to the brain. Situational syncope, which is a type of NMS, is related to certain physical functions, such as violent coughing (especially in men), laughing or swallowing. Other lifestyle changes, such as exercise, also can benefit pediatric patients. Observers may note a weak, abnormal pulse, paleness, or sweating. 7,752,060 and 8,719,052. This cause of fainting usually requires immediate medical treatment and extensive monitoring. It is by far the most common form of reflex syncope. Depending on your symptoms and circumstances, the following tests may be used to find the cause: Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG): wires taped to various parts of your body to create a graph of your heart’s electrical rhythm, Exercise stress test: ECG recorded while strenuously exercising, Echocardiogramor transesophageal echocardiogram: ultrasound of the heart, Physical examination, including orthostatic vital signs and carotid sinus massage, Tilt table test: measurement of heart rate and blood pressure in response to upright tilt, which simulates prolonged standing, Electrophysiology study (EP): test that examines the heart’s electrical activity from the inside; used to diagnose many heart rhythm disorders, Holter monitor: a portable ECG you wear continuously for one to seven days to record your heart rhythms over time, Event monitor: a portable ECG you wear for one or two months, which records only when triggered by an abnormal heart rhythm or when you manually activate it. eMedicineHealth does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Reviewed Fainting and dizziness may be accompanied by other symptoms, such as nausea with or without vomiting, perspiration, and trembling. While unconscious, the person may have low pulse rate (less than 60 beats/minute). Dehydration: If body fluid levels drop, so will blood pressure. Carol DerSarkissian This loss of consciousness is usually brief. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. Unconsciousness is an obvious sign of fainting. Although most people with a history of vasovagal, situational, or postural causes of fainting do not require hospitalization, many doctors prefer to have anyone that faints or has a "short loss of consciousness" be examined by a health care professional. Orthostatic hypotension is defined as a fall in systolic blood pressure of 20 mmg Hg or more on standing, resulting in syncope or pre-syncope. This reduces blood pressure in other parts of the body. ECG is widely available and inexpensive and can provide information about the potential and specific cause of syncope (for example, abnormal heart rhythms). These include: To diagnose your condition, your doctor or licensed health care practitioner will ask you several questions related to your fainting including: Because fainting can be due to serious diseases, failure to seek treatment can result in serious complications and permanent damage.
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