Diagnosing Syncope - Fairview Health Services
 
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Diagnosing Syncope

Syncope is loss of consciousness (fainting). Your doctor will ask you about your fainting episode and health history. You will also be examined. You may need one or more tests.

Man with wires attached to chest walking on treadmill. Healthcare provider is taking man's blood pressure.Health History and Exam

You may be asked about:

  • Where and when you fainted, and how long you were unconscious

  • How you felt just before and right after you fainted

  • Any family history of heart disease or fainting

  • Any cardiac or neurological problems you may have

  • Any medications you may be taking

Your doctor will examine you. Your doctor may:

  • Check your blood pressure several times

  • Listen for any heart murmurs or abnormal heartbeats

  • Examine your eyes, reflexes, and limb movement

Tests

You may need one of more of the following tests:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG). This can help your doctor find a slow or a fast heartbeat.

  • Holter monitoring. You wear a portable ECG monitor for 24 hours. It records your heartbeat.

  • Event monitoring. You wear a portable ECG monitor for several weeks. It records your heartbeat.

  • Echocardiogram. This test takes pictures of your heart. It can show heart valve or heart function problems. Or it can reveal damage from a heart attack.

  • Electrophysiology studies (EPS).These help your doctor find weak or damaged electrical pathways that make your heart beat too fast or slow. This helps your doctor find the cause of a heart rate problem and decide how to treat it.

  • Tilt table testing. Tilt table testing helps show if changes in your body position affect your heart rate and blood pressure.

 

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