Syncope (pronounced sin-co-pee) is the medical term for a brief loss of consciousness (fainting). It comes from the Greek word ‘synkoptein’, meaning ‘to cut short’.

What makes you faint?

Fainting happens when your blood pressure drops (hypotension). At this time, your heart rate may also drop or even pause for a few seconds.

What are the symptoms?

You may look pale, feel dizzy, become sweaty or nauseous (sick), and develop blurred vision. Sounds can also become distant.

What are the common causes?

There are a number of factors that can increase your chances of fainting:

  • Standing still in one position for a period of time
  • Stressful or emotional situations
  • Hot or warm areas
  • Not eating or drinking enough
  • Seeing blood or having injections

Please be aware that if you are unwell with diarrhoea or vomiting, an infection or flu, you are more likely to experience these symptoms. It is always important that you drink enough fluids to keep well hydrated, but especially when you are unwell.

What tests should I have?

If your cardiologist feels your symptoms may be related to a change in blood pressure or heart rate, he or she will refer you to our cardiology department for a tilt test.  

For more information on what to do if you feel you are about to faint and how to prevent the symptoms or faints, please download from the information tab. 

24-hour blood pressure monitor test

If you are thought to have high or low blood pressure or have symptoms of fainting, your doctor may request that you have this test. The test measures your blood pressure at different times over a 24 ...


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