Heart Rhythm Problems: Symptoms - Topic Overview
How long does syncope last?
It is important to recognize that syncope is transient, meaning
that you wake up soon after fainting. Consciousness may return because the
arrhythmia spontaneously stops and a normal heart rhythm and blood pressure
return. Even if the arrhythmia persists, you may still regain consciousness.
When you have an episode of syncope due to an arrhythmia, it typically happens
while you are standing or sitting, and the loss of consciousness causes you to
fall to the floor. After you are lying down, blood flow returns to your brain,
even though your blood pressure may remain low. When adequate blood flow
returns to your brain, you will likely wake up.
What are the risks associated with passing out from an arrhythmia?
Fast or slow arrhythmias may cause you to pass out.
Depending on your position and activity at the time of the episode, you may
seriously injure yourself. If you are standing up at the time of the
arrhythmia, you may pass out and fall. The fall may cause you to injure your head,
break an arm or leg, or receive other injuries. If you are driving, you may
crash, causing severe injury to yourself and anyone else involved.
Passing out may be a sign that you are at risk for a life-threatening
arrhythmia. If you have symptoms of an arrhythmia that may cause you to pass
out, do not drive any vehicle until your condition has been evaluated and
Shortness of breath
A feeling of shortness of breath, which doctors call dyspnea,
frequently happens during arrhythmias. This symptom can be very difficult for
people to describe and may be referred to as:
- Shortness of breath.
- Tightness in the
- Being winded.
- Feeling tired from walking.
What causes shortness of breath?
When an arrhythmia causes the heart to beat too fast, the heart
doesn't pump effectively. Specifically, there may not be enough time between
heartbeats for the heart to fill with blood, causing blood to back up into the
lungs. The increased pressure and fluid in the lungs results in the feeling of
shortness of breath.