Fainting or passing out, medically known as syncope, can be alarming, not to mention dangerous. The team of leading physicians at Chinatown Cardiology, with locations in the Chinatown section of New York City and Brooklyn and Flushing, New York, have the expertise and sophisticated testing technology to determine the underlying cause of syncope.
Syncope is the medical name for “fainting” or “passing out.” It’s the temporary loss of consciousness and posture. It’s typically caused by inadequate blood flow to the brain, and almost always occurs when blood pressure is too low and not enough oxygen is supplied to the brain.
What causes syncope?
Possible causes of syncope are extensive and eclectic, ranging from emotional stress to medication side effects to dehydration, Syncope can also indicate underlying heart, neurologic, or lung disorders.
How is the cause of syncope diagnosed?
Your cardiologist will begin by taking a complete medical history and conducting a physical examination. In addition testing may be order, which may include:
Blood tests. A blood panel can detect possible causes of syncope, such as anemia.
An electrocardiogram (EKG). This non-invasive procedure uses electrodes placed on your chest, arms, and legs to interpret electrical activity of the heart. Each heartbeat is accompanied by an electrical signal that spreads from the top of the heart to the bottom. As the signal travels, it causes the heart to contract and pump blood. EKG recordings give the doctor information about how your heart is working; including: heart rate, regularity of heartbeats, size and position of the chambers of the hear.
An echocardiogram. This simple procedure uses sound waves (echoes) to produce images of the heart to show its size and shape, pumping capacity, location, and extent of any tissue damage.
Exercise stress test. This test studies heart rhythms during exercise. It's usually conducted while you walk or jog on a treadmill.
Tilt table test. The patient lies down on the tilt table so an intravenous line can be inserted and an EKG and blood pressure cuff affixed to monitor vital signs during the procedure. The patient lies flat for about 15 minutes in order to obtain “baseline vital signs.” Next, the table is quickly tilted to raise the body to a head-up position — simulating a change in position from lying down to standing up. The table then remains upright for up to 45 minutes, while the patient’s heart rate and blood pressure are monitored. This allows doctors to evaluate the body's cardiovascular response to the change in position.