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Fainting - Topic Overview

What exams and tests might you need?

To find the cause of fainting, a doctor will do a physical exam and ask questions about the fainting episode. You can help your doctor by being prepared to describe what happened before you fainted, how long you were "out," and how you felt when you woke up.

Depending on what the physical exam shows, the doctor may want to do tests. These tests may include:

  • Blood tests.
  • Heart tests such as ECG, ambulatory monitoring (with a Holter monitor or event monitor, for example), echocardiogram, or an exercise stress test.
  • A tilt table test. This test checks how your body responds to changes in position.
  • Tests for nervous system problems, such as CT scan of the head, MRI of the brain, or EEG.

What should you do about fainting?

If you know you tend to faint at certain times (such as when you get a shot or have blood drawn), it may help to:

  • Sit with your head between your knees or lie down if you feel faint or have warning signs such as feeling dizzy, weak, warm, or sick to your stomach.
  • Drink plenty of fluids so you don't get dehydrated.
  • Stand up slowly.

You may need to see a doctor if you have ongoing dizziness or fainting.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 02, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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