On Track: Syncope

Syncope is a transient loss of consciousness, described as fainting or passing out. It usually relates to a temporary insufficient flow of blood to the brain. Syncope is a common condition, which can occur at any age and in people without other medical problems.

Neurally mediated syncope (NMS), the most frequent cause of fainting, is benign. It is most common in children or young adults but can occur at any age. If this type of syncope is prolonged, it can trigger a seizure.

Cardiac syncope is caused by a heart or blood vessel condition that affects blood flow to the brain. These conditions can include arrhythmia, structural heart disease, blockages in the cardiac blood vessels, valve disease, aortic stenosis, blood clot, or heart failure.

A challenge with syncope is to accurately identify low-risk syncope patients in the emergency department avoiding hospitalization, better still, have paramedics identify these patients and avoid going to the hospital altogether.

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