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When Is Fainting Serious? Hospitals Try to Crack the Riddle

Fainting can be a frightening and dangerous experience, sending as many as four million people to the emergency room each year.

Now, with an aging population that is more vulnerable to such episodes, often on a recurrent basis, hospitals are trying to do a better job of identifying the causes of fainting, known in medical terms as syncope, and determining which cases are serious enough to warrant follow-up and hospitalization.

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  When Is Fainting Serious? Hospitals Try to Crack the Riddle

Episodes are common but often don’t warrant costly extended stays.

Dysautonomia International

We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded in 2012 by patients, caregivers, physicians and researchers dedicated to assisting people living with various forms of dysautonomia. For those of you who may be thinking "dysauto-what?" - dysautonomia is an umbrella term used to describe different medical conditions that cause a malfunction of a person's autonomic nervous system.


We aim to produce information which reflects current evidence-based medicine and strive to enhance our reputation as a reliable and authoritative source of PoTS information.


A blog about Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome for tweens, teens and everyone else interested in POTS.

Can Eating a Sandwich Stop Your Heart?

In a word: Yes. The question is, why? Hint: nerve signals are blocked.

It may be caused by emotional stress, pain, pooling of blood in the legs due to sudden changes in body position, overheating, dehydration, heavy sweating or exhaustion. Syncope may occur during violent coughing spells (especially in men) because of rapid changes in blood pressure. It also may result from several heart, neurologic, psychiatric, metabolic and lung disorders. And it may be a side effect of some medicines.


Vasovagal syncope is a common cause of fainting. The vagus nerve is overstimulated and causes the body's blood vessels to dilate and the heart to slow down. This anti-adrenaline effect decreases the ability of the heart to pump blood upward to the brain against gravity. Without blood flow, the brain turns off. In Victorian England, when this happened because young ladies' sensibilities were easily offended, this was called a swoon.


Syncope is a transient loss of consciousness caused by transient global cerebral hypoperfusion characterised by rapid onset, short duration, and spontaneous complete recovery. The term syncope excludes seizures, coma, shock or other states of altered consciousness.


If you think you're going to faint, you may be able to head it off by taking these steps: •If possible, lie down. This can help prevent a fainting episode as it allows blood to circulate to the brain. Just be sure to stand up again slowly when you feel better — move to a sitting position for several minutes first, then to standing...

Syncope Trust and Reflex Anoxic Seizures

The overall aim of the charity is to ensure that anyone presenting with unexplained loss of consciousness receives the correct diagnosis, the appropriate treatment, informed support and sign posting to the appropriate medical professional.

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