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Syncope

Syncope is a loss of consciousness (fainting) that occurs when blood pressure drops very low and not enough blood reaches the brain. A person may have shortness of breath, palpitations, or chest discomfort before fainting.

The reduction in blood flow usually happens quickly, which causes symptoms to appear suddenly.

Syncope can be caused by several conditions, but it most often occurs when changes in heart rate or heart rhythm reduce the amount of blood flow to the body. Fainting caused by a problem in the heart is called cardiac syncope. Other types of syncope that are not linked with heart problems include neurally mediated syncope, also called vasovagal, neurocardiogenic, and vasodepressor syncope.

Syncope requires medical attention.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer David Messenger, MD
Current as of January 2, 2013

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.