What is Syncope?
Syncope, or fainting, refers to a loss of consciousness due to a lack of blood flow to the brain. When the heart does not pump blood sufficiently, it can lead to a lack of oxygen to the brain, resulting in passing out. Fainting can happen for a number of reasons and may not be anything to worry about, however, sometimes fainting can be a sign of an underlying medical condition.
What Causes Syncope?
The causes of syncope range from non-threatening, to more serious conditions. Syncope can be triggered by situational factors such as:
- Excessive sweating
- Alcohol or drug use
These causes of syncope are usually non-life threatening. However, syncope can also be caused by certain underlying conditions like bradycardia or tachycardia. During these conditions, when the heart rate is too slow or too fast, blood is not being efficiently pumped to the rest of the body, resulting in a lack of oxygen to the brain, and causing syncope. These conditions can potentially lead to other complications like a stroke or heart failure, so it’s important to understand the exact cause of syncope in order to form the proper treatment plan.
What are the Symptoms of Syncope?
Syncope is commonly associated with the following symptoms:
- Blacking out
- Feeling lightheaded
- Falling suddenly
- Feeling dizzy
- Changes in vision
- Feeling unsteady
Many times, symptoms will occur prior to an episode of syncope, known as premonitory symptoms. These include feeling nauseous, lightheaded, and experiencing heart palpitations or a fluttering in the chest. In some cases, you can avoid fainting by lying or sitting down with your legs up as soon as you experience premonitory symptoms.
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How is Syncope Treated?
To treat syncope, Dr. Beshai will discuss your symptoms and when you are experiencing syncope. He may also suggest an ECG to test the heart’s electrical activity, determining if an irregular heartbeat is causing the condition. During an ECG, Dr. Beshai can determine if the heart is beating too slow or too fast, causing a lack of blood flow to the brain.
Depending on the cause of the syncope, Dr. Beshai might try medication first to maintain the heart rhythm. In cases when the heart is beating too slowly, a pacemaker may be used to keep the heart rate regular. A pacemaker is inserted into the chest where wires are attached to the heart, sending electrical signals that tell the heart to beat. Dr. Beshai may also recommend an implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) to monitor the heart rate and correct a fast or irregular heartbeat.
Scheduling Your Syncope Treatment Appointment
Dr. Beshai can discuss your symptoms related to syncope to determine the underlying cause and develop a management or treatment plan. If you experience frequent episodes of syncope, talk to Dr. Beshai about your treatment options. While syncope can be harmless, it can also signal a more serious underlying condition. Contact our office today to schedule your appointment at the Heart Rhythm Institute of Arizona.
The Heart Institute of Arizona has a wide array of services that come with our premium care. From in-office dianostics and treatable conditions, to hospital based procedures, we’ve got your heart covered.
Dr. Beshai is a board-certified electrophysiologist internationally renowned and respected for his expertise and research. Having published in major medical journals and travelled all over the world to present research, he is dedicated to providing innovative, state-of-the-art care to his patients.